We are closing in on mid-June. The days are slowly warming, punctuated by rain and chill from the lingering endless winter. The school year has come to an end, and summer lies ahead with it’s promise of road trips, lazy mornings, hikes through local mountains, and impromptu beach adventures.
Tim’s birthday was this Tuesday. I had originally planned to celebrate it with mylar balloons and homemade chocolate pudding pie, but then life happened, with busy days at work and car appointments and the general whir of life 3.0. I kept him in my mind all day, and told the kids about their Papa’s knack for finding four-leaf clovers. We celebrated him in our own small way. Tim wouldn’t have minded.
I’ve been surprised by how smoothly grief season has gone by for me this year. I go into the months of May and June with the understanding that I will likely have some tough days. Small things may affect me in bigger ways. The seasonal sensory reminders of the life that was torn out from under us.
There have been challenging moments for sure, but I am realizing just how far I have come in my healing process. My stress levels are subsiding. My trauma reactions are rare. I’m able to think of and remember Tim without the heavy, sick weight churning in my gut. Being a widow is part of who I am, but no longer defines who I am. My current reality feels like my life, not an alternate universe I was unexpectedly dropped into. I own it. This body, this family, this home, this life, this experience. It’s mine now.
I initially thought this new perspective was a result of the distractions I allowed myself this spring. Dating and men and the unreliable high of an occasional oxytocin rush. Then it became more a source of stress than recreation. A rollercoaster of external validation and rejections large and small. I started to recognize patterns and behaviors that were not supporting me in the path I wish for myself. I disabled my accounts and deleted my apps, favoring evening workouts and porch parties over internet connections. I realized just how whole I feel, even on my own. The love I have developed for myself and my life more important than the attention and affection of new men. I’m leaning into that for now.
A friend somewhat recently suggested that I change the name of my blog from sorrowpie. Because I’m healed now. And I was like “lolololololololfuckyouNO.”
The thing is, I have healed. I’m in a completely different mental and physical space than I was. But I continue to honor what I have survived. I continue to honor the grief that will forever exist in the corners of my heart. I’ve learned to love myself the way I wished a partner would. I’m confident in my ability to live this life the way I wish for myself. I’ve embraced this life with the constant knowledge that it would not exist without the trauma-blast that ignited it.
I am whole now. Pieces soldered together. Bonded and reformed under heat and pressure. Stronger that before. I would not have believed it two years ago, in the burning rubble of the life I ignorantly assumed would always be mine, just how powerful and beautiful this existence would become.
I post here less frequently. I do not need this space quite as much as I did through the initial crisis. I will continue to write here about the evolution of life after loss, about my shifting perspectives and life with kids. There is less sorrow. Fewer pies. But we are still here, with our growth and challenges and the mundane day-to-day I’m now grateful to have.
Grief season is behind us. Summer lies ahead. We continue.