Today, five months ago, we were in limbo. We did not know what Tim’s fate would be. We clung to hope and faith. We would find out the reality the following day. Nothing would ever be the same.
At five months out I feel different. My head is clearer and my heart is harder. My own visions of the future come to me in fits in spurts. I’m able to think about what I would like for myself and my children in the coming weeks, months, years, as we move along together as a family of three.
In the weeks following Tim’s death I felt ripped open, my whole being exposed and raw for the world to see. Those wounds have begun to heal as pink, jagged, scars that cross-cross my mind, heart, and soul. I’m pulling myself together in the moments I can. I’m having more good days. The darkness sets in regularly, but I see beyond it.
In the past, I have likened my grief to a vast and dark ocean. It’s waves are unpredictable and unforgiving. In the first days I clung to a buoy. Then a raft. Now a small island, with shelter and simple comforts. Maybe a tree or two. The ocean is there and will always surround me, but my relationship with it is changing. I’m owning it and learning it. I’m working to gain back myself and the life I want to lead from here. I’m taking the steps to make it happen. I’m trying.
I’m working now. For a local non-profit. It’s a position that allows me to serve my community through work in my field that does not require me to use my clinical skills. I’m looking ahead towards a private practice in my future. Once the state approves reciprocity on my license. Once I start caring about other people’s feelings again. Not that I don’t, but the petty, trivial hurts that occur in daily life no longer move me. I’m hardened. I’m traumatized. I know that I am not ready to work with people the way I used to, not yet. But when I am ready, I will own a deeper and more profound understanding of pain, trauma, and transition. And that will allow me to help others in meaningful ways. When I’m ready.
I’m house hunting. The process has been interesting and exciting. When Tim was alive we talked about buying a rambling farmhouse with land. We wanted a large garden, chickens, fields and forest for our kids to run free. Tim wanted a “mad scientist” workshop and I wanted an art studio. We wanted to see the stars at night. Now I’m looking for a home in a village, close to neighbors and amenities. Large enough to host friends and family but small enough for me to maintain on my own. A small yard. A vintage home with charm, but I’ll settle for a cape if it comes to that. A home that I can maintain as a single woman with young kids. A home to raise my kids with love and creativity and warmth. A home just for us.
Byron started pre-school. He adores it. Claira is weaned. Sooner then I had originally planned, but it was time. I don’t feel sentimental about these milestones anymore. I see the fathers at pre-school and wish Byron could hold his Papa’s hand. Hug him at pick up time. Laugh at Claira’s awkward toddling and joyful cries.
I wish Tim could see how they have grown and changed in the past five months.
I wish Tim was here.
Two weeks ago I was driving the kids home from school and day-care. It was a warm, sunny autumn day with brilliant colors and blue skies. I felt light and peaceful with the windows open. A little voice appeared in my brain and peeped “Maybe Tim will come home and everything will be ok”. And it all crashed down around me. My eyes filled with tears. My heart choked into my throat. The dark haze clouded my eyes and, for a moment, I was washed back into the ocean.
Tim will never come home.
Everything will be ok.