As Thanksgiving approaches and the second anniversary of Barry's passing is gone, I am pondering this connection of grief and gratitude.
"They", whoever that is, is correct in that time helps to heal the continual eruptions of the excruciating heart pain of loss. Now I'm left with a sense of an ever present grief within. My heart is not aching like last year, but now, a deep River of Tears flows within. Sometimes it is calm and then a song, a memory, a photo comes to mind and the river riles up. When this happens the tears cannot be stopped. Once they move through, all is calm again. Until the next time.
During the first year it was a continual adjustment. This year I have had my most continual and intense season of grief from July until Sept 22. It was two years ago the cancer quickened each week. I would remember " Oh yes... that was when we went back to the hospital... or we were managing the blood clots.... or we went to palliative .... or we celebrated the family gathering of a wedding anniversary.... or my grand babies (ages 2 and 4) came to show Grandpa Barry their princess gowns... or the final bath... or the final breath. " Dying is very much like birthing. It takes time. It's messy. It's emotional. It's sacred, oh, such a sacred time. And no one knows the exact date but only the signs.
I'm grateful to have seen the power of love that Barry always gave to others. I admired his compassion for others when the focus was on him. He loved time with his family and friends and everyone was able to say their farewell and express their love. He never complained to others but was genuinely interested in what was happening in their life. Now, on the days I just want to cover my head in bed, I get moving and try to give a smile and support to those I meet in the day. To honour his teaching.
A second gift has been owning my negative feelings like sadness, regret, disappointment, loss. These have been addressed on a daily basis. I have endured a lifetime of resisting any 'bad' feelings and my default is to stuff every single one deep within. I could not do this any longer because the pain was so great, for so long that the grief spilled over constantly. I think I'm more in tune with naming and embracing my grief, tenderly, quietly, courageously. These are just feelings and only remain if I push them away. Grieving is a complicated emotional process. It's messy, just like the dying process.
I cannot imagine how crippling the loss partners feel after 20 or 30 or 40 years of marriage. I know I'm much more compassionate to others'losses. I tear up when listening to their journey. This is a complicated soul process. I've examined my regrets and learned to make changes as needed. I've also learned to be much more gentle. I live my life at a slower pace. And with intention.
QDY is the final gift from Barry since the genesis of this business began about 100 days before he passed. It was a project we shared and provided us with a topic to discuss besides cancer. The tree logo of this business is very symbolic to me because trees symbolize growth, change, life. Very much the gifts I received from Barry.