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Nov 25

Five Years Ago Today

From my amazingly strong and inspiring sister in law… About grief, healing and love that never ends.

 

Five years ago today and one day before Thanksgiving, TIM, my husband and the love of my life, passed away.  I have come to call November 25 my personal Ground Zero, the day when my whole world crumbled and life as I knew it, was completely obliterated.  Suddenly, I had entered a parallel universe – two worlds where everything co-existed but were separated by a chasm of contradictions so wide I didn’t think my mind would ever be able to reconcile them.  While the outside world saw my normal and  efficient self, my internal world was in shambles. My heart had shattered into a thousand agonizing pieces.  I was in pain and yet I was numb. I had never felt so alone and yet I found no comfort in being around people.  I knew Tim was gone but I talked about him as if he were still here. There was no question that he was ever coming back and yet I begged him with all my heart to come home and get me off this nightmarish rollercoaster ride. Tim and Death were so diametrically opposed because he had such a lust for life. He savored every moment of everything he experienced. He showed me how fun life could be. He was a survivor and, in my mind, he was supposed to live forever.

 

After the funeral and everyone had left, the tears had mercifully come. When they came, I could not stop until my body was limp and wrung dry as a rag. I cried myself to sleep and cried at every waking moment. I cried for him and all that he had agreed to go through to get well for our sake; for my children who would never experience the love and guidance of their father; for everybody who knew and loved him; for what our love had built in 21 years and for all our future plans and dreams that were now irrevocably gone. Lastly, I cried for the part of me that had died with him and the other piece left behind, now alone to navigate and rebuild a life that had turned into a wasteland.

 

Year after year, I avoided putting my thoughts about my grief journey in writing for fear that I would get too close and Ground Zero would swallow me up and I would never be able to climb out of its depths again. I made it my mission to get as far away from Ground Zero as possible. Everything became a conscious choice that my survival seemed to depend on. I chose to move forward – conquering one challenge after another that I put in my path. Surviving “triggers” became my daily goal. I forced myself to stand still and feel when grief came to wallop me with all its might so that when the next wave came, it no longer had the same power to hurt and devastate.

 

Contrary to romantic belief, time does not heal our wounded hearts. It just blunts our memory of the sharp edges of pain and grief. There will always be that sadness when I look back to where my journey began. I will always miss Tim with every fiber of my being for the remainder of my days. My loss has wrapped around my heart like scar tissue, attempting to make it whole again, imperfect as it is. Grief will never go away because it has become a part of who I am today.  

 

This Thanksgiving, among many blessings, I am most thankful for the transformative change that my loss has brought about in my life and the life lessons that came with it.  It has taught me that we grieve deeply because we have loved deeply.  Grief is not a one-time event but a life-long journey – we can heal from it but we will never get over it. With it, though, is a message of hope that we can survive it and make a new life for ourselves.  I have learned to trust that my God is bigger than my loss and He continues to give me the grace to come out of my grief time and time again, mercifully unscathed. It has taught me to be more compassionate toward myself and others, especially the kindred souls experiencing a similar loss that grief has brought into my reality.  It has taught me to let everyone who matters in my life know how much I love them every single day because life is short and death is a certainty that we can never prepare for. I have learned that even in the midst of experiencing our grief, it is okay to laugh, to live, to experience and to enjoy new moments again.  This is what Tim would want me to do – to continue to live and savor life for the both of us. And I will do so to honor him. Lastly, I am thankful for all the love and support of friends and family during our difficult moments through the years and who continue to be there for us. God bless each and every one of you.

 

I no longer fear Ground Zero nor Death. The duality of loss has shown me that we never truly experience life until we experience death. Even if we spend the rest of this life without our beloved, our days on this earth are numbered and every day we live is a step closer to reuniting with them. This is my biggest take away from living life to the fullest and also my greatest comfort. So for Nau, I go and live!

 

 

Grief never ends,

But it changes.

 

It’s a passage,

Not a place to stay.

 

The sense of loss must give way,

If we are to value

the life that was lived.

 

Grief is not a sign of weakness,

Nor lack of faith.

It is the price of love.  – Author Unknown

  • Jan

    Wow. Such truth in those words. Love that you wrote it. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and soul with us “strangers” in your life!

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