I used to think a lot of things about grief that I don’t think any longer.
I used to think that you couldn’t hold two thoughts in your head at one time.
In the 2 years and 3 months since Chuck died, I’ve realized that I can carry on a conversation and be engaged with others while simultaneously flash-backing in my head to times and places and memories of me and Chuck together through the years. It’s an entirely painful process but you’d never know that’s what’s going on inside of me. I look so normal on the outside.
I used to ponder the future. Not making huge or firm plans because I loved being in the moment with Chuck, especially as we began traveling the country, but my thoughts would wander to getting old with him and what that would be like, and anticipating many more years with him. Now it just ain’t happening. My feet and my mind are firmly planted in being right where I am. I could have another 30 years without him, and the idea of that fills me with anguish.
Mostly, in the biggest way, I used to think that, over time, we find a place for grief in our hearts and that is what helps us move through it, what eases the rough edges of it. What I believe now is that grief stays with us with all of its’ rough edges and becomes only the difference between bone marrow and blood. On any given day, grief is one or the other for me. There isn’t a particular surge that happens; it merely goes between being in my bones or running through my blood. It’s my new baseline. Whatever happens now comes from the depth of knowing that Chuck was a huge part of my life and is now gone. It isn’t negative to think this way; it’s realistic for me.
Sometimes it seems that we, as grievers, are pressured to look to the future, when allowing ourselves the space for grief is what really helps us into that future. It’s okay to be right where we are. It’s okay to be whatever we need to be at any given moment. Which is where I am, even as I travel all around the country on my Odyssey of Love. I am everywhere, yes, but wherever I am, I am only there.
It’s all I know how to do.