Apparently there are great gifts to be found in profound loss.
Or so we’re told.
I suppose it’s true for some people. We’re told it’s an opportunity to become more compassionate or more aware or become kinder to those around us.
Hopefully most people are already both those things but maybe not.
Maybe numerous people live their lives unconsciously. Unaware of what’s important? Maybe they take things for granted on a regular basis?
I spent so many years of my life, especially in my younger years, in counseling of various kinds, in support groups, ultimately in AA, where I learned all about changing myself, changing my life, taking responsibility for myself, learning about being genuine and authentic. Learning about gratitude, learning that you can’t keep it until you give it away.
I wasn’t perfect; I fully acknowledge that. But shit, I took nothing for granted, especially Chuck. Especially our marriage and our relationship. Not for one damn second.
So, here in this fucking grief, guess what? I’m no more compassionate than I was when he was alive…which was very compassionate. Nor am I kinder; kindness and service to others was my middle name. I was kind and loving to Chuck and to those around me.
So I haven’t learned anything more about those things than I already knew.
But do you know what is different about me now, since Chuck’s death 4 years and a couple months ago?
Do you want to know what I have learned since he died?
I’ve learned that I can gaze at a beautiful sunset and sob uncontrollably and wonder desperately if my dead husband is somewhere in the colors of the sunset and wish it to be so but feel so uncertain at the same time. And while I’m sobbing uncontrollably, I’m standing outside myself thinking how fucking pathetic it is that I’m doing such a thing but, well, such is this grief, right?
Also, I’ve learned that I can do a thousand yard stare into the horizon for hours at a time, barely blinking, marveling at the miracle of the human heart, that, already shattered, it can shatter yet again, many times over, and still beat.
I’ve learned that the human body can hold pain and ache beyond belief and still look outwardly normal.
I’ve learned that I can live 2 absolutely authentic lives at one and the same time; my inside life, where I think back, remembering times with Chuck and, honestly, live in the past, while functioning efficiently in my outside skin. And I swear to god, nobody looking at me could tell that I’m not really present.
I’ve learned that I can genuinely not give a damn about the future, not worry about the future, but exist solely in the moment where I am thinking…yes…about Chuck, even as I go about life.
I’ve learned that life is actually very hard and the secondary losses that accompany the death of your person are mind-numbing and incalculable and crop up unexpectedly, even when you think you’ve dealt with them all.
These things I’ve learned.
And not a damn one is worth the price of his life and our life together.