We knew this journey was going to be a painful one for us. We knew you would be free, free from the pain, free from the machines, free from the tubes, free from the medicine, free to move around and do what you wanted, free to walk, run, skip, free to yell, scream, free to be heard....free.
I was reading an article on the grief toolbox regarding healing taking a lifetime. This article described grief like a major surgery such as open heart surgery. Just as in a surgery like that, one must heal in layers from the inside out. If you try to close the opening too soon you often have infection trapped inside and you may not know it for a long period of time. This made sense to me...so just like that, I need to heal in layers insuring that each step I heal infection free. Acknowledging and accepting that will take time will allow my lifelong journey of healing to begin.
Also like surgery, sometimes you have setbacks. We've had them, we've acknowledge them (when we realize they happened) and we've moved forward from them. I'm to early in this journey to know what some of my triggers/setbacks are. We've made it through the 1st of everything, the holidays, your birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, the summer of you not going to camp, the start of school, your yahrzeit, the beginning of the school year, and now day 365. I didn't get angry on any of these days or any other days, sad, depressed, missing you, yes all of those. But I also tried to remember the happy and good times. The "if only's" and "what if's" drive me crazy at times. Answers we'll never get. As each layer heals, I'll learn a new method of making it through the moment, through the day, through the week, the year...just through.
Learning to live without someone in your life, that has been such a part of your life for so long, is like learning how to do everything you once did together minus one arm. It is learning to live completely differently. It is learning how to enjoy things you once enjoyed together, differently. It is learning how to fill a void in a healthy way. This is just like allowing our body to grow new tissue to replace the space left by infected tissue that was removed during surgery. I will only allow something equally as beautiful to take that space.
Just as any major surgery will leave a scar, so does grief. It is not something to cover up and hide, but rather acknowledge the existence of it, wear it as a badge of honor to the loved one you lost, and feel NO shame from it. We only grieve for those we love, and love lasts a life time.