In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
On one hand, Robert Frost’s quote feels arrogant and uncaring to me. Certainly, there was a time in my early days of grief that I would have been deeply offended had someone said to me, “Life goes on.” On the other hand, I know it is true. He is right and I am living proof that he is right.
October 24th, 2017 marked the 26th Anniversary of Gerry’s death. I observed this milestone with the same astonishment that I did when I realized our children were not children any more and both were approaching the end of their 30s. It just can’t be possible that time has passed so quickly. Moreover, we survived!
There came a day in my journey, and I remember it to the minute, when I realized that I had to say “yes” to living and get on with it. Saying yes did not end the pain, nor did it heal the scars that I carried so deeply. In fact, it probably wouldn’t take much to reopen the wounds today, because some cuts barely feel scabbed over.
I have remarried and I have grandchildren, a full social life, and a busy career. You may see the contradiction in my words. My wounds are still there after 26 years, but I am living a full rich life. How can that be? It happened because I said “yes” to living even though I knew the journey of grief would seemingly be a path winding alongside me the rest of my days.
The reason I can do this is that I am proactive in my grief. I allow myself to feel what I need to feel when I need to feel it. BUT I also give myself permission to live. And, I don’t deny that my grief can bubble up whenever the hell it wants. It just doesn’t scar me anymore and it truly has little power over me.
Each person’s journey is unique. You may think that I am nuts, or you may feel relief that someone out there gets what you are going through. I do. I really, really do. So matter the number of days that are behind you or the number of days ahead of you, know that you can, and should, do grief in your way and in your own time.