Sunday, April 22, 2007

What does it take?

As the big one and two year anniversaries approach, I've been revisiting previous posts and thoughts. One of the big things that I wanted to know was HOW to heal. Obviously, nobody could have told me at the time exactly how I should proceed in order to feel better. But now, looking back on it, I can see some answers to my questions...what helped...how do you just go on...what does it take to feel better...

The passage of time. For me, it took four months to stop crying every day...six months to "feel better"...almost a year to feel as if this was a part of my life but not my whole life. I still have moments where it seemingly swallows me whole, but those are getting fewer and farther apart.

Distraction. Ripping off part of your house and putting it back together gives you something else to concentrate on. All the details that need to be taken care of so that the project stays on track. They say not to make any big decisions while grieving, but I think I disagree. When we lost Alex I had nothing but time to sit and think about what we had lost. When we lost Travis I had distraction. Granted, the second time around I didn't have such shock and horror...the "how could this happen to me" factor was pretty much already taken care of. But I really think the distraction helped me by re-focusing my mental energies.

Defining myself. Who do I want to be? I decided a long time ago I wanted my life to be full and rich and complicated and messy. And that necessarily includes taking the good with the bad. It doesn't make the bad hurt any less...but it allowed me the opportunity to evaluate my perspectives on life. What do I hold important? Who do I care to have in my life as family and friends? How will I react? What kind of legacy do I want to leave? For me, quitting was not an option. But I didn't want to be fake either. I wanted to genuinely acknowledge the sadness and grieve in a way that would help me heal and honor my boys...but I didn't want to lose myself in it because I have a family who relies on me to be here physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I sound like I'm "over it," and that is not the case. But I am finding a peace that I haven't felt for a long time. I suppose this is the acceptance phase of grief. And I'm not so foolish as to think I can't be thrown back into the abyss of darkness. But for today, the sun is shining and I've got a somewhat positive outlook on life.

5 comments:

Julia said...

You know, this past summer, while I was lying with my butt propped up on pillows, a progestorone suppository in place, a laptop on my belly, I saw a comment you left at Julia Hippogriffs' and I followed the link here. I cried and cried reading about your boys, and I didn't know why I continued to read. I think it was because of your humanity and your grace.

Then, when A died, you were one of the people I thought of as we felt our way through what comes next. And it helped to know that as unbelievable as it seemed right at the moment, it is possible to survive this, and to eventually have a rich, complicated, and messy life again.

So thank you for being there, for giving voice to your pain and your hope, for honoring your boys, and for helping me honor mine. Thank you.

Aurelia said...

I'm glad you have found some peace in life, and a piece of happiness. (I have to say as well, that this is one of the best darn posts I think you've ever written, IMO.)

Ruby said...

Beautiful post. I sincerely hope that the sun keeps shining for a long time.

Lori said...

Wrap your arms around that sunshine whenever it comes.

I think the older we get, and the more loss we experience, we start to learn that part of the dance is learning how to embrace the sun but also the darkness. Give our losses their place, hold our lost loved ones close, but to also continue to seek the beauty and grab onto it when it comes.

Thank you for sharing this.

Kendra's mom said...

Some days there is peace and other days not. We just have to learn to accept those days that are not and enjoy those days of peace. Ok, you express it so much better than me but basically we are saying the same thing. I am also moving through a stage of peace at the moment. Posts like this still make me cry though, but in a peaceful kind of a way. Great post.