It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
Some days are just hard. That's a truth I've come to understand over the past 22 months. In the first year, especially those first eight months, I came to fully expect that every day was hard. As I've written before, those early days went by at almost a surreal pace. Grief was ever present and seemed to hold time at bay. As we approached the first anniversary of Matthew's death last October, things shifted a bit, time picked up and the acute days of grieving became less frequent.
Now I notice that there's no anticipating when grief will sneak up and wash over me like a rogue wave. It just happens. It can be a song, a special place or just a memory that slides into your subconscious and suddenly all you can think about is the tremendous hole that now fills your life.
You see, grief lies just below the surface. Even when I'm laughing or absorbed in a conversation, if you were to scratch me just a little bit, my grief would come bubbling up. I've come to view grief as not the enemy, but rather as an emotion that I now can acknowledge and move into, knowing that eventually she'll go back under and I'll just carry her around with me.
I bring this up because there have been some days in August that have been hard, and I'm not exactly sure why. It could be because the end of summer always makes me a bit melancholy. It could be because two of my friends have the anniversaries of their daughters’ deaths this month and both have written poignantly about where they are at five years and two years later. It could be because that's how it's always going to be.
When I started this blog I wrote about the transformational power of grief, and I believe that more than ever. My grief has changed me in ways that I'm only just beginning to understand. I am more mindful of things, big and small, happy and sad. I just don’t take anything for granted.
I also bring this up to remind people that for those of us who have lost a child, our grief is always there, even if you don’t see it. It doesn't go away, even with the passage of time. It doesn't go away even if we seem "better." And that's okay. The beauty of the human spirit is that we have a remarkable ability to continue on, even in the most adverse of conditions. But bereaved parents will always mourn their child. We don't want them to be forgotten.
Some days are just hard. Some days grief rises up and reminds me that she’s there. She reminds me that mourning Matthew will always be a pivotal part of my life. That’s okay. I also know that I will move through it and feel better soon. I know that life continues on almost with a renewed sense of purpose. And for that I’m grateful.