I didn’t set my alarm this morning like I usually do each day. I knew that today I wouldn’t need to. I woke up at 6:00 am with plenty of time for coffee. The room was dark, except for the soft light of my candles. I felt the weight of both dogs, one on each side of me, offering me their comfort in unspoken understanding. I waited for what ever emotions would find me this morning, this day seven years ago, the time, 7:30 am. And I remember.
A couple of weeks ago, I read an article that spoke of time passing, and that eventually the raw, heart wrenching memories of the last days and months of a loved ones life are replaced with memories of the life that was lived. The happy memories, silly memories. I’m not there yet. It isn’t that I don’t remember happier times, I do. But the memories closest to the surface of my heart are of Jillian’s last two years of her life. And that’s okay.
I posted this morning on my Mama Bear’s Spot, Face book page the following:
You are the reason we do what we do. What we’ve become. What we’ve learned. What we’ve gained and what we’ve lost. We won’t forget. How could we?
I am not stuck in the past. My feet are firmly planted in the present, with high hopes for the future. But without the past, I cannot be what I am today. None of us can. And because of the past, I try to live each day intentionally. Some days I fail miserably.
So what, exactly, have I learned these last seven years?
1. Love does not die. It isn’t something that simply fades away. It becomes a part of us, infused into our soul, and nothing can take it away.
2. We are not alone. Although there are times when we prefer it.
3. Do not judge. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Eventually we will need to do the work. Some do it sooner, some perhaps years later. But one way or another, grief will catch up to you.
4. You can’t fix us. I understand good intentions, but we can’t be fixed. We may not even want to be fixed. We are learning to embrace our brokenness, and to live around the huge hole that remains, without falling in. We are not Humpty Dumpty that can be put back together again. We are imperfect and don’t need to hide the cracks in order to make others feel better.
5. Grief makes people feel uncomfortable. I really wish there was a required class taught in schools on how to support and comfort bereaved individuals. Death happens to all of us.
6. Life is precious and a gift worth celebrating. Somehow, in some way, you will pull through. Find that thing that works for you and guard it, nurture it. For me, it was running. A goal. I needed a plan and to find something that I could take control of. Something that was mine.
7. Spend time with your family and friends. Cherish them. And if you have grandchildren, rejoice in them. Because there is nothing sweeter than to hear the joy in their little two year old voice as they proclaim, “Mimi, I happy!”.
I am too, little love. I am, too.