I realize that I may always “fall” when the Fall season is before me. The first few years, when the leaves changed color I fell into a vicious free fall of sorts. And, now, four years later, I quietly slump into a predictable sort of fall. With practice, I am able to fall more gracefully now. The landing is gentler. I am grateful for this.
With time, we get better at grief. We become more proficient at carrying our sadness as we limp forward. Grief evolves for everyone. There are no exceptions because nothing in life is static, including grief.
The human spirit is strong; and, at some point, most of us begin to claw our way back to life. In order to do more than survive their deaths, we begin to move forward. And, out of necessity, we eventually learn to build an alternate life around the emptiness that exists inside us.
I have started to recreate a life around the Love Mike left for me. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done; but, four long years later, I am reengaging in life again. And, while I do this, I acknowledge that there is still a profound sense of aloneness and missingness that wildly runs through me. I may appear to be calm, but I am not. I remain unsettled. I feel unteethered. I stay beyond restless because my Soul aches for Mike. And, I know that it always will. There is no cure for this type of missing.
It is pointless to try to outrun my grief. And, attempts to fight it are futile.
Instead, I have learned how to fall into my grief. I lean into it. Way in. I absorb it and I release it.
Over the years, I continuously allow my sadness to seep out of me. Many days, I have bathed in my tears. I have drowned in my own despair. Then, somehow, again and again, I managed to resuscitate myself. Over and over again, I have brought myself back to life when I had no fight left in me. I have survived a sadness that knows no depth and no breadth – and you will too. I didn’t die from the gutting and you won’t either – I am the proof you seek.
Each year, I feel myself falter and fall when the leaves change color because I know that Mike’s death date is looming large. Thankfully, over the years, I have learned to trust that I can and I will break my fall using my own grit and grace. With time, I have come to value and appreciate the beauty in my own strength. Now, I believe in myself the same way Mike believed in me. This is big, big stuff. This is Mike continuing to love on me from across dimensions.
I have come to know my own capability. Finally, I see what he saw in me. It is ironic that it took Mike’s death for me to see myself in the light he saw me in. With this reflection, I now have the ability to fiercely love myself – the way he once did. What a way to honor the big love he had for me. In his absence, I can love myself wholly and madly for him and because of him. This is how Mike’s love lives on. And, this feels pretty wonderful.