I hit a landmine today. It’s a pretty common occurrence. On a good day. This morning I drove Jack Byron to daycare and headed over to the pottery studio to trim and carve a set of mugs I’ve been working on. I stopped by the grocery store to pick up food for the coming days and drank my favorite kombutcha while gliding through the aisles. I ran into an old teacher and went through the same conversation I have every time I see a person post loss.
“Yes, it’s horrible. I’m ok, thanks. The kids are doing great. We are doing ok. Thanks.”
I got home just after my mom put Claira down for a nap, opened up a package that had arrives from Amazon, and ran down to the basement to put some packaging in the recycling bins.
Then I stepped on it. A landmine. My mom had opened a box of the kids toys and placed them on the shelf. A plastic bin of kinetic sand and plastic dinosaurs, the one that left our dining room table and floor littered with grains of sand. The canvas shopping bag from the Willy St. Coop. A fabric bin I bought on clearance at the Hilldale Target, filled with wooden blocks. Books Tim had read to the kids in the rocking chair in the corner of Jack Byron’s bedroom, next to the window and radiator, under the planet mobil.
Little innocuous artifacts of the life I lost. The husband and father we lost. The existence we shared in the home that is no longer ours.
And the grief ocean that exists inside of me swelled over the banks of my resilience and emotional work and washed over me, pulling me back into the waves.
This is not the first time this has happened. It will most definitely not be the last.
In the corner of my parent’s basement is a stacked wall of the remnants of my life. Boxes upon boxes of personal belongings and memories. I have not touched the wall since moving to Vermont 8 months ago. I did not pack these boxes, an army of earth angels (ie, amazing friends) did. I don’t know what’s inside these boxes. I don’t remember what I saved. I just know that whatever is there is what I thought was important to bring into this next life.
When Tim died, I didn’t just lose my husband and soul-mate. I lost my life. I lost my home. My belongings. My business. My job. My lifestyle. My nearby network of friends. My hopes and dreams. My vision of the future. My sense of security. My fear.
One day I will have to go through these boxes. A new home, with new beginnings and new dreams.
I dread that day.
I excitedly anticipate that day.
The process of opening these boxes will open the sandbag walls and steel doors I have erected between myself and the grief ocean. These boxes that contain my past. And what I believed to be vital to my future. Whatever that is. The ocean will engulf me fully, pull me under. Into the rip tide, scraping my body across sand and coral rocks. Submerged and momentarily drowning.
But I’m ready for that.
I’m ready to swim with the current and pull myself back onto shore.