“Inside your home, you keep mementos of your past that help or hinder your movement into the future.” ~ Kathryn L. Robin
I think I know by now what might throw me, because I consider myself experienced in grief.
I already endured the deaths of my brother, mother and brother-in-law. I’ve navigated life without my beloved for more than four seasons now.
I went all in to the grief. So, on some level, I believe I’ll be freed at some grandly appointed time. Wala!
Silly me, thinking I’ve got a handle on grief.
I remember what my friend Heather said as I announced I was crossing the one-year line: “Oh, honey. You’re just getting started.”
I shivered, but didn’t show it. She didn’t know then how strong I am. She’d see. Yeah, sure.
Then, Heather showed me her scars from when grief walked on her heart—like bear claw marks. And, I saw her beauty shining.
I knew, as hard as my path is, hers was harder. And yet, there she is—standing, advancing, dancing with divine feminine fire.
That will be me, I thought.
I didn’t know on a Thursday afternoon I’d squeeze my dead boyfriend’s Colgate toothpaste tube for the umpteenth time into admission that there’s absolutely no more of this thing his hand touched every morning for months.
Silly. Ridiculous. Who the hell takes toothpaste from a dead man’s house?
I did. Now, it feels like one more thing I have to give back. It stays on the edge of my sink for a week. I can’t make myself throw it away.
I think I know what will throw me: anniversaries, birthdays, KISS songs. Actually, those make me shout, “I want to rock and roll all night and party every day!”
But, sometimes the things I don’t make a big deal of silently overwhelm my heart.
The little things—like toothpaste?!—might throw me on a random Thursday, maybe even make me think I’ve made no progress.
Stop. I remember the day I took the tube from his house. It was just days after he died. I gathered my shampoo, conditioner and razor from his shower and replayed the last time I’d taken one with him. Then, grief sucker punched me in my gut: that was the last time.
I crumpled to the floor and Kevin’s brother Glenn swept me up in his arms from behind. This was the first time I’d met him. He held me with grief’s grace, giving me a hug that felt like Kevin’s arms, his breath, home.
Just standing required enormous energy.
Now, I’m standing. I’m breathing. I’m walking, loving, dancing and writing.
And yet, I die a little inside when grief’s winds remind me how much I still miss the man I never wanted to walk away from.
Look, Icey, he says from some other world. I see I’ve squeezed a bit of toothpaste—and life—daily.
I haven’t gone crazy (although I considered it). I stayed sane in the midst of this f*cked up thing I did not want to happen to me.
Now, I smile at the size of my emotional biceps.
I know I can let one more thing go. Or not.