This is what I know three days before the year anniversary of the days that turned my world upside down, tore it to pieces, and threw me in a spiraling motion. This is what I know of my journey, my grief, my love, my heartache and my struggles.
In every meltdown and in conversations; I have been told to be patient in time it will get easier. As time goes by the ache gets less, the healing starts and the bleeding wound will begin to form a scar. This has not been true on my journey!
As time has gone by, my aching body has gotten worse, my tears have overflowed, and the missing of his presences has intensified. For the souls that might be saying "this is unhealthy", well in your circumstances it may be unhealthy, but on my journey this is what I am doing. And of the things I have witnessed through my grief, every single person does it differently. Trust me, four souls live in this house, three raised exactly the same, and guess what ALL four are going through the process in their own unique way. Oh it's been hell, because I have done my best to have them grieve as I am. It has exploded in my face, caused me more tears and heartache and made me realize how they are doing it, what they are feeling is perfect to what they need. How they do it and how I am doing it is not the right way or the wrong way. It is the way each soul needs to do it to get to the new place on our journeys. It truly slapped me in the face one evening when I was holding Bentli sobbing, missing her dad. She screams, "I just want dad, I want dad to hold me." I began crying with her and said, "I know sis me too!" In the sweetest voice, she says, " mom you don't understand exactly what I'm going through, the only ones that truly know what I'm going through is Z and Demi. Just like we don't know what you are honestly going through."
Correct, she is absolutely correct! I have compared myself to other women who have lost their husbands, made me question myself, beat myself up, and have had extensive self talks with myself. Finally I came to the realization how I am doing is exactly how I need to do be doing. I allow opinions to be spoke to me, statistics shared with me, advice on how to be doing it, but I now am only listening. I am not absorbing it, I'm not taking it on. My grief journey is my own. I will write this story all by myself.
Now back to the statement, in time it gets easier. My grief has gotten harder as time has gone by. Through the help of my counselor, I am slowly learning what the tornado inside of me consists of. I don't have just the grief of losing my best friend swirling in there. There are numerous particles mixed in causing pain. I have lost a voice. I have lost relationships. I have lost loved ones and friendships. I have lost an identity I had for years. I have lost a bit of my faith. I have lost my plan. I have lost all my joy. There are more particles to the mixture, but my goodness I could write pages of all the items.
I noticed in September it was getting harder. Confused by what I was feeling. Chalking it up as the time of the year, just part of this damn journey. Then I recognized what was happening. For some of the souls reading this you will not understand this next part of my writing, please read it all and appreciate it is my story.
I began reliving the past two and half years in my head. Was it because it brought me close to Doug or was this a malfunction in my grief journey. Because when I start doing it I can see it as if I am in it, I can smell every single scent I came in contact with, I can hear every voice spoken to me or near me, I can feel all the energies and emotions as if it was that exact moment. I have pondered over and over if this was healthy, if I needed to find a way to stop and then it became clear to me, as if the Lord said "now child, now you may experience it all."
March of 2014 I went into warrior mode, it was fight or flight and I was fighting. So through Doug and I's journey with cancer I wasn't backing down to anything. This is how one appointment went early on. Doctor walks in says,
"good morning, how are you feeling Doug"
"I feel pretty good."
"You look good"
Then the testing, hold your arms out straight and touch your nose with your finger, pull my arms, push against my arms, lift your leg, now the other leg, watch my finger, look straight at me and tell me which fingers I have pointed up, spell world, what is today. He finishes testing like a champ and then the words are spoken, " it looks as if there is growth." He turns to me with the look of complete fear. I quickly and firmly state, we are good. We have options, no need to panic. We are fine. As we leave, he starts in with all the questions. Jack what do think, what did this or that mean. I continually spoke strength over him, I never broke.
This is only one appointment I speak of, I have relived every single one we went to for 20 months. But now I am not the warrior, I am the little girl that lived inside of me scared to death when I heard "new growth", " more spots", " treatment didn't work". And when he turned to me with scared to death all over his face, I began to cry in fact I sob. Every relived moment I have done since September to present, I just allow that little girl to be scared to death and cry as many tears as she needs. When I went into warrior mode, I pushed that little girl down and put a very heavy lid on her so she wouldn't come out. So feeling those moments are just as raw as if I were there now. But in doing this I am allowing to grieve the loss of being a caregiver also. Which for my journey is what I need, as hard as it is, for all the tears that have been shed reliving all of it, I am finding a bit of the healing process.
The numbness that takes over your body after the shock subsides, is quite amazing. The body completely protects itself, without you consciously knowing it. With the start of the numbness lifting, it causes tremendous pain. Think about when your foot or hand goes to sleep and the blood supply finally starts filling back in, that prickling sensation that you feel. It is like that but a billion times stronger. But to get the feeling back in your foot or hand you have to endure the prickling feeling. It goes the same, as the numbness begins to lift I am starting to feel which in turn means there is more pain. It becomes very hard when my psyche gets to me. Feeling as if everyone's life seems to be going on, which I know it is, but mine isn't. I think mostly because I am not sure how to keep going right now, or maybe I don't want it to.
The hardest feeling I have that no one understands, and I don't expect anyone to understand, is feeling as if I am on an island alone surrounded by thousands. You can be surrounded by many but still feel completely isolated. It is standing alone in a glass box looking out at the world, screaming at the top of my lungs and no one hearing my words. The loneliness of being the surviving spouse, is to me, almost unbearable. I can remember years ago, way before Doug got sick, him and I having a conversation about death. I specifically said, I have to go first because the thought of living without you, I'm pretty sure I couldn't do. My soul is correct right now, I'm struggling trying to do it.
I felt I had been walking this path fairly smoothly, but I came to a Y in my path. Two doors, I took the one on the right. Walked through it and slammed the door shut. Complete darkness I am standing in complete darkness. I turned to go back out and the door is locked. So now I am standing in the dark absolutely paralyzed, hoping somehow a candle can be lit for me to see where I need to be going. But until I figure out how to lite a candle, I will just stand here in the darkest of dark. Allowing it to be ok to be here.
The year anniversary is approaching and the mother hen in me has managed to round up my chicks to have home with me this weekend. Blessed am I to have those three girls!
Psalm 56:8 (MSG)
You've kept track of my every toss and turn through sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
Love and Blessings to all