Yesterday was 11 months from the date of Ben’s death. Most of the day felt like any other in this new life. I had a moment in the morning where I looked at the clock on the microwave and flashed back to the operating room, to the nurse’s voice telling me there were no signs of life. I stood still, feeling time move around me like a warm wind until the memory left and I found myself once again in my kitchen, a mug of decaf coffee in my hand.
We had a visit with friends we haven’t seen in years. The girls became mermaids, long hair flowing as they covered their legs with seaweed, mussel shells and mud. The mamas talked, catching up, remembering the feel of each others’ presence. The sun shone, breaking through June’s thick clouds. We played a game, made a mess, and ate the lunch Steve prepared. Late last night I sat down, alone, and spoke to Ben. He answers me in different ways – words on a page, thoughts that come as though a voice other than mine is speaking them, occasionally I hear the lyrics to a song.
Today grief has had me in a stranglehold since the moment I awoke, short on sleep and patience. I closed my eyes and fought for peace, clawing my way toward the light I could see on the other side of the enveloping dark. All morning I’ve been some variation of annoyed, irritated, or angry. Slowly the realization dawned. It takes me longer admit it to myself, even though I know the signs. Even I, who have given myself permission to grieve this loss fully, struggle with the pressure to get over it. Even I, who knows how precious its gifts are, sometimes want to dull the pain. But she is wise, my grief. She knocks at the door to my heart until it opens, allowing the release to come, allowing tears and words to flow.
I am imperfect in this process. I have learned how to set myself up for success, as I would my child, and still, I fall down. In the kitchen for a moment, two sentences from 2011’s Words to Remember caught my eye: Stay connected to now. Find the joy. I am feeling the grip of old thoughts and habits today, cold hands pulling me down into the deep. When I bring myself back to the present moment I see those hands for what they are – the desperate grasp of an ego that has spent years being the ring-master of my life. I know, now, that I am greater, and more powerful, than that. Instead of fighting the dark, I can simply turn my face toward the light. I can find excitement in the knowledge that I have the opportunity to figure it out, this life, by living it to the best of my ability. For now, in this moment, I can believe that:
I am worthy
I am enough
I am trust
I am love
I am exactly where I need to be.
All is well
Even when it seems like it isn’t,
and I’m going to be alright.