I’ve had many silent nights since Mike died. Nights where I had nowhere to be. Nights that I had no one to share with. Nights where the only sound in the house was the clock ticking obnoxiously. On these nights, the only place I want to be is back in his arms. I have endlessly wished to go back. Back to a place in time where Mike exists. A place where I can still hear his voice. A place where I can feel his touch. This is what I want for Christmas, to go to this place where Mike is still “real”. I desperately want to fall back into him. And, I know that this is not possible – not even on Christmas Day.
When your spouse dies it’s an amputation of sorts. There is a relentless missing that is hard to describe. A bottomless emptiness forms inside you that no one can understand; unless, they too, have been forced to out live someone they love. Death creates a separation that is both p-e-r-m-a-n-e-n-t and choiceless. You are severed from one another on a physical level; and, a deep, fierce ache grows inside your Soul. The missing is hard at the best of times; and it can be unbearable on days like today.
Unfortunately, Grief does not observe the holidays by assigning vacation time.
Although well deserved, we won’t get any “time off” today.
Grief doesn’t come bearing gifts for time served.
Grief won’t put a shot of amnesia in your stocking.
Grief isn’t going to go out of her way to help you get through the day today.
But, I am going to give it a try…
So, here is what I know.
I think it’s okay to be not okay today.
I think it’s okay to not know how to be.
I think it’s okay to smile and laugh;
And, then stand and cry.
I know there will be lots of moments today that I just stop,
hold my face in my hands,
close my eyes and feel hot tears silently run down my face.
There is no manual for grief. (Maybe I should write one.)
But, really, I can’t because there is not a certain way to grieve.
Grief isn’t sequential and predictable. It’s messy, just like life is.
So, today, all you need to do is breathe,
And, most importantly, remember to LIVE between breaths.
I’m not asking any of us to do anything difficult today because it’s Christmas and I’m aware of our fragility. Like you did, I sat at my dinner table beside an “empty” chair. Mike’s absence is pronounced every day, today was no exception. So, I am serious when I said all you have to do is breathe. And, hey, you were doing this before they died. Breathing is nothing new. Before they died we were just going along living; and that’s what we need to keep doing now. Nothing fancy is required. Just breathe in life and live it.
Mike loved life, and it loved him right back.
This is his legacy to me.
This is his gift to me today, and always.
So, I intend to accept Mike’s gift.
For me, and for him,
I will love my life.
When I say I will love my life, I mean I will love my life as it is. Here and now. I will choose joy. Now, in this moment because this moment is what I’ve got. I can’t wait to love my life when the road becomes easier. I know that there is a lot of life to be lived while I’m “waiting” on life changes. So, let’s both go live boldly. Live the life you have right in front of you. That’s what I plan to do. Each week, I will write to you about the life I am living “in between” the place where I am, and the place where I am going. And, yes, admittedly, when writing, some of the pages in the book of my life are tear stained. Well, actually, they are soaked with tears. Okay, technically, I don’t even know if I can write on some of the pages anymore, but I am capable of turning the page and writing on a new sheet. Maybe you can start a new page too. Remember, there is nothing written in the “grief manual” that instructs us to stop the story of our lives.
Right this moment, the story of my life is scattered all around me. My life has been shook like the presents under the tree. Some pieces of my life have been roughly reassembled, and still parts of me are unsettled from being tossed around in the frenzy that followed Mike’s death. My life is a lot like the discarded wrapping paper that has been thrown around the Christmas tree this morning. There are pieces everywhere. I am picking up my life and attempting to make something from what’s left. This is a big job; and, at this time, huge parts of the plot are not certain. I’m surprised, but I am becoming more comfortable with this uncertainty. I am actually trying to embrace it. Uncertainty is scary, but it ushers in possibilities which is exciting to me. I am learning to enjoy the beauty of becoming. I am aware that some of the most beautiful chapters in my life were unexpected. Mike was one of these chapters… Remembering this makes me a big fan of the unpredictable nature of life. Fate is good.
Merry Christmas from my heart to yours.
And, remember that even heavy hearts can choose to love life again…
All is Calm, All is Bright,