Out of the blue

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.
That’s enough.
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.

This entry was posted in Chad, no words, the girls. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Out of the blue

  1. Cathy Bunce says:

    I'm so happy you had the time to prepare.  I understand the grief. Chad gave you the permission you needed to live without guilt. Live..Laugh…Love!  Life is too short.

  2. Cbwatson says:

    You are AMAZING!!!  Truly amazing!  I cannot wait to see what God unfolds every day of you and the girls lives… because I know there is a wonderful man in heaven cheering God, you and your girls on….

  3. jennifer says:

    You are such an inspiration to me and to  many. God has a special plan for you Skye. Always follow your heart, and know that you are loved..

  4. JF says:

    The girls could not have a better mom.
    Take Care

  5. guest says:

    Dear Skye… you do not know me, but we actually lived together in the wake county hospice house for 10 days last october.  I saw you several times, and like other families who i saw come and go, i would often wonder what was your story.  My mother was in room B5 – she died on october 19 with me, my sister and my father watching as she struggled to take her last breath.  For weeks and months after a life consumed of pain, sadness and death getting back to any type of normalcy is beyond hard. Just the sound of getting ice from the fridge would bring me right back to hospice, and along with it, all the sorrow.  I had heard that there was a very young man with a brain tumor who had been at hospice for a long time – so when i saw a FB friend post a link to your blog with a brief mention of the wake county hospice house and a man named chad with a brain tumor, i had to check it out.  I am so very glad i did.  Your perfect words have helped me so much  – I don't even know how to begin to explain it.  We hit the year mark with the passing of my mom, this past Wednesday – and this last blog of yours once again, had a way of expressing everything that i have been feeling.   This quote says it all for me… “It sucker punches you; leaves you breathless and then just walks away – ever waiting to pounce again.”  
    Thank you Skye, thank you so very much.  I will continue to think about you, and your beautiful girls, and i wish for you a life full of love, magic and small, happy moments.  with much gratitude,Alane

  6. Skye Lanford says:

    Thank you for taking the time to express our connection. It's such a small world, isn't it?
    I hate that anyone can sympathize with these feelings; but knowing that I have helped anyone, even in a small way, makes the struggle worth it.
    I'll be thinking of you too, wishing you nothing but the best.

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