Throughout caring for Clayton before he died, I felt the weight of responsibilities. The weight of being a caregiver and the weight of working full time, the weight of making sure medications were dosed and delivered on time, the weight of his comfort and the weight of emotions. Heaviest of all for me, the weight of what was to come.
There were so many weights to handle that I had to leave a few behind. The weight of my fear, the weight of my sadness and the physical weight I was adding. I didn’t care about me. I just wanted him to be free of any weight I could take on because he was carrying the heaviest of all – Knowing he was dying.
After Clayton passed, I felt lighter without all of those responsibilities but that left me feeling vulnerable to the emotional elements. Sudden exposure from the lack of pressures caused panic so I started to pile on work weight, busy weight and more physical weight. Distractions distorted the devastation. There was safety in being buried alive under self-imposed burden.
I remember being in that space. I had accepted I would forever have to hold on to the heavy. This third year of widowed walking has brought forth something I never thought I’d reach. I had so much on my shoulders that I just kept moving forward without turning back. When you carry a boulder, the widowed weather brings tough stormy days and you don’t really notice grains of grief that crumble off. Each storm’s passing erodes the stone into subtle sand. I didn’t acknowledge that the burden had grown lighter until I finally heard a happy memory behind me. It caught me off guard and I found myself looking over my shoulder for the first time. There I was standing up straight again no longer bent under a boulder of bereavement. The happy memory had started tipping the scales away from solid stone sadness.
I will always carry grief for losing Clayton but now I can start to stretch and breathe again. These first few years, although heavy, have built my strength so I keep moving forward a little lighter each day. Through the sunshine, pouring rain and stinging sleet, this journey continues to carve and smooth me. Despite what they say, time cannot heal all wounds. Even time can’t remove these sovereign scars. I still have distance to travel but at least time is helping take off the layers and slowly freeing me from under this widowed weight…