Grief is a wild, untamed thing.
An animal all its own, with fangs that sink in to hold you paralyzed when you least expect it.
An animal that hides deep in the woods, making you forget just enough and feel just safe enough to forget about the vulnerability that you cast aside.
And when you think you are safe, when you think you have found a place to hide that seems quite like a blissfully transparent paradise, grief comes. Quick and without warning.
It sucker punches you; leaves you breathless and then just walks away – ever waiting to pounce again.
I suppose it’s the time of year.
This time last year was just so…well, the sadness was palatable.
While in the middle of it, I could vividly recall every single detail.
Now, my memory has faded some.
Honestly, someone asked me the date of Chad’s death.
And I couldn’t remember. I knew the date range; but I couldn’t be sure about the actual day. That shocked me.
So, like an idiot, I went to the blog entries from last October and November.
And I cried yesterday. For two hours.
Just remembering the worst time of my life, the last days with my best friend.
Right now, I see the leaves scattered on our lawn and some of the memories come flooding back; like someone holding my head under water without letting me get a full breath above the surface first. I can smell the Hospice Home, I can see the light streaming through his room with the doors wide open, I can feel the heaviness in the air resting upon me like a steel jacket. Almost a year. It can’t really be.
One year ago, I made that sweet video of Chad telling the girls he loved them (click to see it).
One year ago tomorrow, to be exact.
It feels like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime ago.
I watched that clip a few times yesterday, searching the features of his face.
He smiled after saying their names, which was allll him. I didn’t prompt him to do that. He loved his girls.
Those eyes. I miss them.
The way they followed me around the room.
The way they talked to me without words.
The certain way they closed half way when he laughed.
The way I look into them now, even in his absence, every time I look at our girls.
I am in a place that I’ve been longing to get to; a place all my own.
I am enjoying everything I can; filling up my glass until it runs over.
But sometimes, out of the blue, the grief monster comes to visit.
Thankfully, his visits are less frequent than I ever would have imagined they could be a year ago.
What it lacks in frequency is surely made up by intensity.
I’ve made great strides this year; I’ve come far.
I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.
I know what’s on the horizon and I know God has something wonderful for me and these girls of mine.
People have asked me how I’m doing so well, despite everything.
Honestly, it was all in preparation. We had the opportunity to discuss things – not everyone has the opportunity to do that.
He wanted me to be happy; he wanted me to take my time to give my best and then get back to it…get back to life.
If you knew Chad well, you know that this is so true.
We talked about my future a lot; the things he wanted for me, what he wanted for the girls.
When he couldn’t speak, he even went as far as to take off my wedding rings, place them in my palm and close my hand around them.
He released me from the guilt of surviving, of being his survivor, of living a life that would contain happiness again.
So selfless of him, really. I am ever thankful.
As this final month approaches in the first year’s journey, I’m ready for the unknown.
I’m prepared to cry. To be mad. To cry some more.
And to stand back up and get back to it.
To be happy and not feel guilty for it.
To chase my dreams, laugh every day and dare the grief monster from stealing my joy.