Monday April 8, 2013
It is becoming few and further between Grief Reflections for me. As it should be. I am in a new space of life. My life. Without Dave. Not we. Me.
I just returned from a road trip with Leah and her boyfriend Scott to see my mother and stepfather in California. Both have precarious states of health and illness, leaving us vulnerable to facing more personal grief and loss in a predictable future. In their 80s, the seasons of life will wind down in a matter of time. How much is anyone’s guess. Each visit is as much hello as it is a silent goodbye. I get that. Our visit together was enjoyable and healing. Seeing each other again feels simultaneously limited and endless.
The first night away from home and the return into my house is a missing moment. I no longer have Dave to check in with. It’s the cats now. They are my family. Of course, Leah too, but she is my daughter. She is for me to protect and she checks in with me. She is moving into her own separate life, molding her own family. As it should be. As much as we mutually depend on each other I am not ready to relinquish my independence and mother status, nor do I need to, since we have learned to greet each other in the adult world. (However, I recognize that she may see it differently as I hobbled about, and she and Scott seemed compelled to drive most of the 1600 miles as a way of taking care of me!)
I am not writing so often about grief. The baby steps I started out with on this journey a couple of years ago have moved through crawling, walking and even giant steps. I can see it in the patterns of writing going from daily to weekly and now closer to monthly. I compose within my head more, and write on paper in shorter spurts, dropping my moments of reflections in varying places such as the Navigating Grief Community and through social media bits and pieces. They are more decidedly observation than release of angst these days.
I feel the shift into a new rhythm that is my life, familiar yet new, like the subtle change of longer daylight that Spring brings. My internal clock has been set forward. As it should be.
I find I have personal weekends and work weekdays again. I have boundaries. I recognize the seasons. I have grown in ways only experience can teach me. I have become the student in order to teach; the teacher in order to measure what I learn. I have walked the talk and now I talk my walk. Each day gets easier, and the progress itself becomes my comfort. I have more to give. I am filling up, no longer drawing from reserves.
I didn’t expect Dave to be here when I came home this time. Nor will he ever be again. I understand this change that is my loss and appreciate that this is part of who I am and what I offer. There are only remnants that remain physically and emotionally. The whole of our lives together is gone.
I move through, perhaps past, grief even though loss is forever.
I am excited by my focused direction for grief support and coaching work with others along their road. I am happy in this rediscovery of my inside self in this process. I am encouraged by change and studies and feeling life in the midst of death. I am challenged to be brave and bold in ways I hadn’t expected. I recognize there is still all kinds of work ahead, but I go not in fear but with a sense of adventure and knowing.
Last summer, during Leah’s exploration of loss she brought forth a theory on our lives being divided into thirds. Generally speaking, as I understand it, we have major evolutions in our mid-20s, and again in our late 40s to mid-50s. If true, and it certainly seems to make sense in our lives, then Dave’s death is one of the change agents for our individual evolution. A natural process. Progression. The life cycle.
As an adult I have always sought to be in a place of choice – about whom to spend my life and leisure, about creating financially stability for a desired lifestyle, about my personal and professional development, about the choices that affect my health. I didn’t choose to have Dave die so soon, nor the effects of aging on my bones, but I can choose to actively confront my challenges and grow. I am in choice.
This is life. The only one I have, as I know consciously right now. I am entering the last third and I hope it to be a long run! There are unknowns as well as predictable changes. I still have personal grief ahead. (We all do.) But I still have so much life ahead. The human will is strong. (We are all resilient.) I look ahead to see this next stage to be my wisdom-building years. I’ve earned this chance. I welcome its arrival. I am prepared to continue my walk through.
Spring has sprung its renewal. I am home.