I am not sure I'll be able to write a post "12 Months Later", at least not right away, so I thought while I had the thoughts, I'd better write now, at 11 months, unconventionally.
So I guess it's May and the year is 2016. I realized this, sure I realized when it was NEW YEAR'S DAY, but...it really dawned on me the other day when I was uploading photos of our second year here in California. It dawned on me that I had not started the 2016 album, so I'd needed to do it. But it's MAY. In reality I guess that is true, but in my reality, it's still just after Christmas. It is most certainly not May and it is most certainly not almost a year since my best friend and "life partner" passed away.
I feel like for the last several months, although I've had some breakthroughs in my grieving process, and all that means is I've healed more and more, because when you experience loss you can get stuck in a certain place and not "move forward", and you end up struggling with whatever. If that makes any sense. I'll explain more later. So I have been feeling like I am just pushing through the last several months. New Year's came, it was awful with the reality of Amy not being here, Valentine's Day came, same thing (she loved that day), countless days like my birthday, her birthday, her husbands birthday, her sons birthday and on and on. Even these NATIONAL SOMETHING days can remind me of her. It is endless. But because life calls you and it's important to stay "in life", I've picked up a few projects, and that has stunted some of my grieving. Much like it probably does someone who works FT at a 9-5p, leaving them with little time to focus on healing. I actually do have the time to heal, but with projects and a few other commitments I have going on, it's prevented it a bit.
Here's where I am 11 months later:
1.TIME- Time is an odd thing. I literally am not in May of 2016. If you've experienced a significant loss, I would gather you feel the same way. I am not sure when time will catch up with me, does anyone out there know? I felt like I fully prepared for Amy's birthday, and when the day came I was able to really feel pretty good, except it felt surreal. But the week leading up to it I was fighting to not be in bed the whole week. But other dates I have felt rushed, like I haven't given them the attention that they need, or the attention myself that I need. It is tough because I get blindsided by so many things that remind me of her and I wish I could give them ALL ample attention, if that makes sense, but it's humanly impossible. But everyday there is a flood of them. I think time is standing still for me overall because it's almost like I'm still in that place with her dying. Even though clearly I am not. It's very hard to explain. I'm still "back there" but life is "up here" right now. And it keeps going and I'm trying to be in May but I'm not.
2.PRECIOUS MOMENTS-Lately I've been thinking again about the sweet tender moments I had with her during her illness. Even when her brother got married a few years ago, she wasn't able to bathe or do her hair or make-up, and I helped her. I got to her house early that day and curled her long thick hair, and I adored putting make-up on that face of hers. The face I had been touching and seeing since we were 15! What an honorable and a humble experience for both of us. I like thinking on those tender moments. There are many more, but that is the one I've been thinking of lately. There is one more too that I keep thinking of, and it's when I was massaging her back in the hospital last May. And rubbing essential oils on her shoulders and spine. I don't know how that was almost a year ago, but it was.
3.THE UNDERCURRENT- One big breakthrough I had was just last week. Grief was ruling the day and it does that. It gives no warning signs as to when it will be worse, or feel breathable. I was suffocating that day. I sprawled onto our ottoman and just let go. It was like an UNDERCURRENT, that was there for days, sometimes weeks, and you're waiting for it to take you under, and boy did I go down. A lot of times we don't 1, allow ourselves to let the undercurrent take us because we have to be present to our day and we have responsibilities, and 2, we are afraid of the undercurrent because it's so so painful. Usually when I experience this I hate it. I think it's my enemy because it hurts so bad and I want out of it desperately. But this time, after 11 long months, I finally did not wish it away. I let it be, I went with it. I didn't call it names and beg for it to go away and leave me alone. I sat in it, felt it. I was gentle toward myself instead of being mad at being swept under, STILL 11 months later! Like I'm suppose to have it all together with grief by now, ya right.
4.ACCEPTANCE- I have a few chapters left in my main grief book, and one of them is ACCEPTANCE. I'm afraid to read it because I don't want to accept Amy's being gone, because let's face it, it's unacceptable. But maybe, just maybe the chapter will talk about accepting that grief is a part of our life now. That it isn't something to get rid of, but rather something that will always be there, although healing overtime, but it will always be. Maybe the chapter is talking about how grief becomes a part of us and it needs to be accepted and integrated into our lives. I don't know, but that is how I felt for the first time last week when the undercurrent took me. I felt like this was ME now. This was my new self, because I am different now. I look at pictures or videos from before she died, and I look and sound very different. It's very strange. It's like there is a BEFORE YOUR LOVED ONE DIED SELF and an AFTER YOUR LOVED ONE DIED SELF. And it's sad.
5.TALKING-Oh how much I still want to talk about it, but not many around me want to or know that! I stopped going to my grief support group that I had attended since July last year, because one of the members, a good pal from the group, died. I mean I could NOT and still don't believe it and I just couldn't get myself to go back to that room where we all shared together for months and months so intimately about our loved ones. I just couldn't deal with his death or the reminders of that room.
I went to a new grief group that Grief Share offers here in Oakland, but I didn't like it so much. I felt rushed and I felt like the members were telling me what to do, how to feel and how to handle things.
So not sure where I'll go from here with this. But it's important to keep talking, and because my hospice/grief counselor time is up after June 15th, I need to figure something else out! But talking keeps her memory alive, and it's part of healing!
6.REGRETS-Most people that have experienced loss end up having some regrets, some people end up having a lot. And a huge break through I had was realizing that Amy is WHOLE AND PERFECTED. She is ALL SPIRIT and she has not ONE regret or thought of MINE. She is literally perfected with her Father, and she does't view any misunderstandings, squabbles, discord, or unrest that the two of us may have ever had any more! It's all wiped away according to her. She is made new and whole, so her view is not the same as us tiny humans, who experience pain. Along with her not experiencing physical pain anymore she also no longer experiences mental or emotional pain, so her slate is wiped clean! She would never want me under the bondage of regret, and your loved one wouldn't want you to be either! She is set free, so so am I!
I am speaking at church on Mother's Day and then I have one other writing project due at the end of May, but other than that, I plan on doing a lot of grief work, and more of a focus on self-reflection and alone time. The year anniversary of her passing is June 5th, and I'll be planning that day soon.
"Should his heart break and the grief pour out, it would flow over the whole earth, it seems, and yet, no one sees it."
"We almost feel we need to experience the world for two people." Martha Whitmore Hickman
"Our separation is temporary, not permanent." Martha Whitmore Hickman
"So in our healing from the wounds of grief, a generous amount of silence will help us rest into the depths of our own souls, and find peace." Thomas Merton