|Rob in Montana many years ago. We were on holiday. I think now that my husband was almost always laughing.|
What I mostly know, now that 16 months have gone by since Rob's death--nearly 2 years since he first got ill, is that love does not diminish. It does not lessen with time. Grief still arrives and brings with it waves of sorrow that open into deep pockets of joy. There simply is no legitimate time for grieving. There are no periods that are more or less acceptable. Time is far too slippery here.
Feel what you feel. To deny sadness is to have it inhabit your body, like the starling that now lives inside the exhaust fan on the side of my home. It is better to feel than to hide. Hiding requires not being.
In A Short Course in Happiness After Loss, Maria Sirois describes the sudden whiplash of grief that happens well after the process of grieving has seemed to end:
The heart hits hard against the cage of the loss we thought we had somehow ‘resolved’ and we find ourselves on our knees, paralyzed on the blue kitchen tile, staring at the Tupperware we had taken out of the drawer to sort . . . and we can’t remember why because we can’t breathe, can’t hold our head up, can’t possibly organize anything because all we can feel is this rush of pain and the pressing crush of its sensation. As if we have been t-boned by a Hummer. Whiplash and slam.I am writing this here so I will have a reminder, not of the ways that grief works, but rather of the ways that resiliency rises like a righteous set of wings that shadows grief. In the first months it is impossible to see this. Lately, I connect the two: grief gives way to resiliency. By naming the terror or sitting still in a sadness, grief is less the monster I have not faced and more the process I know too well.
Now and then, these waves of grief also bring stories of Rob and others. Remembering is a sweet gift.