In about two weeks it will be the fifth anniversary of his death. Five years! How is that even possible? In my mind I can replay those four days down to the most minute details as if it were yesterday, yet it’s amazing how the pain dulls a bit. The decisions made during those days were the most difficult of my life, and I pray I never have to do that again.
It’s amazing how much life can change in five years. Here I sit, in a different house, married to a most amazing man with whom I share a love I could never have imagined. I told him this morning, “P taught me to trust again and to love again, so I could love you completely now.” And he doesn’t ask me to not love P, nor does he negate that love. We celebrate every day together and honor our pasts in the life we have now.
In five years, my son has gone out on his own, and while he’s still finding his way, he’s taking chances again and exploring what he wants out of life. He’s choosing to live again, too, which is what his dad and grandparents would want for him. Thankfully, he has a great relationship with his step-dad and they’re enough alike to have found common ground.
If you’ve ever visited any of the grief groups on Facebook, you’ve no doubt seen some of the sayings and memes that are prolific in those groups. I’ve been a part of some of those groups and they’ve been a great support to me over the years, along with my counselor. I’m going to try to not use their exact wording, but the overall lessons I’ve learned about grief have been discussed on those pages and in memes. While they can be harsh when you’re new to grief, in time you find they are true.
The truth about grief is grief never ends. It changes, and the harsh corners soften with time, but it’s always there. The loss is always there. There will always be things to remind you of that person, or things that should have happened. Case in point: watching so many of his contemporaries receive awards and accommodations for things he should be receiving, too. How quickly they forget someone once they’re gone! Or seeing someone walk down the street that has that same stride to their step, or using a similar mannerism or turn of phrase. There will always be reminders. And the empty hole will always be there.
It’s a decision everyone has to make after a loss: to burrow in and live in the past and the memories, or to attempt to live again. The past is a place to visit, but not to live. My husband asked me why I look at my Facebook memories so much. It’s comforting. Sometimes I’ll see a comment from over five years ago, and it will make me laugh, remembering how we were always egging each other on and teasing constantly. Other times, I’ll see comments and reminders from friends who lifted me up during that dark time. It’s a good way to see just how God has worked in my life, and how blessed I have been and continue to be by friendships and love.
This may or may not be my last post in this blog. The future will decide that. Several have said I need to publish this blog as a book, and I’m looking into it. Either way, thank you for accompanying me on this journey. And remember: honor your memories, but live the life you’re given.