A Little Bit of Him With Each of Us

Dark places. Rock bottom. The dark places hit. Sometimes with no warning. Sometimes with a little bit of warning. Sometimes you can "prepare", know when the "triggers" are approaching -- holidays, birthday, death date, milestones of his twin sister. The things Ian should be doing with Becca, they should still be a "we" on earth; not an "I" on earth and an "I" in heaven. The dark places come. The dark places go. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes slowly as if time hasn't moved since Ian passed away. Dark times last weeks. Dark times last days. Dark times last minutes. Dark times last seconds. There is no rhyme or reason to when they may come or how long they will last. 

The dark times hit. You have to get up. Put the first foot on the floor and then the second one. The dark places and grief don't care what else is going on in your life. They don't care about your other child, spouse or anything else. Some how you have to figure it out. Life still happens. Becca needs caring for; she needs to get to school, to the horseback riding barn, to doctors appointments, just to, just to places. The dark places and grief don't care. I get up to do what I have to because I have to. I go to do what I have to because not doing is not an option. 

Tomorrow, Becca starts her junior year of high school, her 3rd school year without Ian. The 3rd year I will take the obligatory first day of school photo with Becca and an empty spot next to her. Maybe this is something that Becca realizes maybe not, but it is something I will keep to myself; well at least not bring up to her. Not how much the beginning of the school year is a "trigger", not how the beginning of the school year, the beginning of September is, well just is. Here's to Becca and all the other kids starting school tomorrow having a great a year. 

All of the above being said, it's still so fucking hard. The weight on my chest seems to get heavier and heavier .... sometimes it's so light I don't even realize its there; others times it's so heavy I can't breath. Sitting on the sofa in the family room with Brian and Becca watching TV, seeing all the family photos -- of the twins -- the weight comes and it gets heavy. What I would do to see his smile, to see the sparkle in his eyes, to hear his laughter, to get that first day of school photo. To know he'll graduate high school, go onto college, to fall in love...you know the rest of it. There are times when I'm putting on a face and doing what I have to do. There are other times when I just don't put on the face and don't leave the house. I revert into myself....and eventually come out. For now that's just how I do it.  

Have you ever heard of "continuing bonds" ?
In summary it goes like this - when your loved one dies grief isn’t about working through a linear process that ends with ‘acceptance’ or a ‘new life’, where you have moved on or compartmentalized your loved one’s memory. Rather, when a loved one dies you slowly find ways to adjust and redefine your relationship with that person, allowing for a continued bond with that person that will endure, in different ways and to varying degrees, throughout your life. This relationship is not unhealthy, nor does it mean you are not grieving in a normal way. Instead, the continuing bonds theory suggests that this is not only normal and healthy, but that an important part of grief is continuing ties to loved ones in this way. Rather than assuming detachment as a normal grief response, continuing bonds considers natural human attachment even in death.

With that in mind, the key chain below is a little piece of Ian for Brian, Becca and myself to carry with us...

Life is a Journey --
Birth is a beginning
And death a destination
And life is a journey:
From childhood to maturity
And youth to age;
From innocence to awareness
And ignorance to knowing;
From foolishness to discretion
And then perhaps to wisdom.
From weakness to strength or
From strength to weakness
And often back again;
From health to sickness,
And we pray to health again.
From offence to forgiveness,
From loneliness to love,
From joy to gratitude,
From pain to compassion,
From grief to understanding,
From fear to faith.
From defeat to defeat to defeat
Until, not looking backwards or ahead,
We see that victory lies not
At some high point along the way
But in having made the journey
Step by step,
A sacred pilgrimage.
Birth is a beginning
And death a destination
And life is a journey.
~~ Rabbi Alvin Fine


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