|An Offering (M.A. Reilly, 2011)|
I thought grief was an experience to move through, like a figure walking through calendar pages amassing new understandings that would ease and redefine the pain. Grief does not yield to time as I first thought. It is impervious to calendars as it has never been a linear matter. Rather, grief is more fluid, less borderlands. It unfolds and refolds new landscape and old triggers revealing what was cherished, forgotten, lost, and remembered. It is both sweet and bitter.
Most everything animate is a trigger. A couple out walking. The call of birds from trees. The rustle of wind through leaves. The change of seasons. The random mention of John Cage on a radio show. Most everything inanimate is a trigger too. Every read book in a house built from books. The creak of a stair. A found post it note wedged in the back of a drawer. The forty journals left behind. The brush used to lather when shaving. The anticipation that still arrives with Friday evenings. Habit is the largest trigger.
There has not been a day since Rob's death when some recollection has risen sharply and reminded me of what Rob can no longer experience. Life pulses on. Perhaps that has been the hardest to accept--the grand indifference of life and this understanding of how life presses on has allowed me a few insights.
- Feelings are not truths, nor are they doors into the future. They are quick moments of the present that tell me: I will not die from this loss regardless of the sharp awareness that still happens when the enormity of the loss swamps me. Time does not avert the flood of feeling, although it does reduce its duration.
- Acceptance is a choice and perhaps more importantly, a practice. Each matters. Choosing to accept Rob's death is also choosing to accept responsibility for my life. Practice at each is often far more deliberate than how I lived previously.
- In the span of five months, life as I knew changed dramatically. Loss like this can happen again. The best antidote to such uncertainty is to live and love deliberately, beginning with my son.
- Love remains solid, informing after Rob's death. Love did not die. Knowing I have been so well loved centers me each day. Rob's love continues in the absence of his corporeal self. I remain the most loved person on this planet as I carry with me the love that formed me. I did not know that such a gift would be revealed as sorrow edged.