As I keep walking forward along this widowed path, I’m coming across familiar terrain that I thought I left far behind in my life. No one really tells you that when you become widowed you revisit all of your old worries so I’m going to say it now for those who follow me in grief in the future. Your current bereavement will bring up your old grief days. At first I fought them rising from the space inside. I had thought I locked them well enough away but nothing lasts forever.
I have talked about fear, anger, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and abandonment. The loss of any loved one is never a direct emotional line. When I step back and see the map of my path, it honestly looks like a 4 year old drew all over the wall with a box of crayons. The one topic I haven’t focused on is my Worry.
Worry wasn’t born from being widowed. Worry and I have always had a close and abusive relationship. Worry has been an underlying voice my whole life. Worried I’d get lost. Worried I’d get in trouble. Worried I’d be bullied. Worried I’d be hurt. Worried I’d be forgotten. Worried I wasn’t enough. Worried I wasn’t worth staying around for. Worry has always been the devil on my left shoulder. He always knew exactly what to say to cause me to crumble. He got quiet for a few years because Clayton’s words of affirmation filled my heart but with Clayton gone, Worry started singing whispers and they hauntingly echoed in my empty spaces.
“You won’t find anyone else and if you do they will leave you someway, somehow. They all leave you.”
The Worry was fully back and louder than he had ever been. What if he was right? Safest thing is to sit still so he doesn’t see you. If the room stays dark he’ll stay quiet so don’t open that door or the light will flood in and he’ll find you. Stay quiet little one and you’ll stay safe. That’s exactly how I made it growing up – hiding from the bullies and hiding who I really was so I fell back into a self defense mechanism designed by that little boy with a box of broken crayons.
However, just like every child, I got restless and peaked through the door. What I saw was a bright beautiful world full of people asking if I could come out and play. For a while, Worry made me slam the door and some of those people left but many stayed and kept knocking. One day, while Worry was asleep, I heard a knock and I cracked open the door. There was that little boy, a memory of me, standing at the threshold holding out his box of crayons.
“Draw your next adventure.” He said.
“What if I don’t draw it right?” I replied and looked down at my feet.
“That’s a silly worry. It’s your adventure so it’s always right. I think you should draw yourself with wings so you can see yourself soar.”
That little boy with the box of crayons never gave up on his imagination and hope for better days as long as he could keep drawing.
I’ve been given another one of Grief’s gifts – The knowledge that there is nothing more beautiful than the picture you are drawing. So keep drawing as big as you can dream…