11 months

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.

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12 Responses to 11 months

  1. Alana, this is a beautiful post. Sending you all the time in the world.–Angela

  2. Pamela says:

    I wish I could express how much your posts mean to me. After most of them, I find myself choking back a sob. Some of that is for the grace you have displayed through so much grief. The other part is this searing gratitude for bringing Ben into my life. I feel him in each of these posts, teaching me these exquisite lessons. Thank you for sharing all of this. I know it cannot be easy and yet it is such a gift you have and one you share.

  3. Christa says:

    All is well, my dear Alana, and you are, indeed, right where you need to be.

    Tara at Organic Sister wrote a post the other day about mermaids and the need some of us feel to dive deep. You can find it at http://theorganicsister.com/living-deeply/ .

    Here’s to the sisterhood of mermaids… the quote Tara used, from Anais Nin, reminded me of you – ‎”I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

    Know that you and Benjamin are each a huge gift to the world, and that many of us are holding space for you to find the joy in each moment, as you so often do.

    Love to you.

  4. Steve Sheeren says:

    You are all of the above and more. You are going to be so much more than alright. You already are.

  5. Cynthia Burbage says:

    I was thinking of Ben on our drive. And how each month at the 29th day it comes to me to pause, to remember, to honor this big little spirit. I felt the beauty of him everywhere yesterday. Thank you Alana and Steve and Ada for sharing. We love you!

  6. Karen Sharp says:

    “…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….”

    yes, me too. Wise grief, and imperfect process….

    “Stay connected to now. Find the joy.”

    …trying, trying.

  7. Roos says:

    You are love, oh yeah 🙂

    And what strikes me everytime when I read Steve’s comments, that he expresses his love to you in this place. I mean, he could tell you at the kitchen table that he likes your post – it’s so amazing that he takes it one step further and writes it down for the whole world to see. What a guy!

  8. Dian Reid says:

    Peace is with you, whenever you’re ready. And of course, it’s okay in the moments you’re not. Love and light to you, my friend.

  9. jojo says:

    sending you peace and love and a warm hug. i am practicing patience as i read this. still sinking into the words “I am exactly where I need to be.”

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