Grief plays tricks with time. The past three months have passed in the blink of an eye, and they have lasted forever. I never thought I’d last three weeks let alone three months — at times the pain was so unbearable I wanted to scream. So I did.
Yet here I am, a thousand miles from where I started, and generally I’m doing okay. Grief grabs me a couple of times a day, but doesn’t hang around long, mostly because I take long walks and look at life through the lens of a camera. I find solace there, and peace.
This morning, however, I woke in tears because of this new milestone — three months since his death. I needed to scream, to be alone with my pain, so I headed out for a walk. Wandered in the desert. Cried in the wilderness. And screamed. Haven’t had to do that for a while — I’ve been keeping myself too busy to feel much, so it was good, in a strange and agonizing sort of way, to reconnect with my grief.
I’m still going to a grief support group. It does help to be around people who understand this journey, to hear how others are handling their loss. (Loss. What a odd way to describe death, as if the person is simply misplaced, like a ring, and will soon be found.) Each week there is a special focus of attention, a lesson. The lesson for the grief support group last week was about finding a sense of purpose:
“Each phase in my grief journey allows me to explore where I am right now. By accepting that I am where I must need to be, I am free to live today. The place I am today can become friend instead of foe. The journey into my loss has already created change, and the present and future will create more. Now may be the time to examine my expectations of myself, and accept that I am where I need to be for now.”
I’m not sure that I am where I need to be, either mentally or geographically, but that sentiment hit a chord with me. I am trying to trust in the rightness of my path, and that I will know what to do when the next step comes. What bothers me is that by trusting in the rightness of the path, both mine and my soulmate’s, it means that it was right for him to be sick and die, and that I cannot accept. But maybe it’s not up to me to accept the rightness of his path, only the rightness of mine.
As for change? If I were writing a novel about a character who has gone through what I have these past months — first the diagnosis of his illness, then his too quick death, then sorting through the accumulation of decades, and moving from the house where we spent the past twenty years — she would have grown stronger perhaps, or wiser, and changed in some fundamental way, but I don’t feel any different. I’m still the same person, though my situation is completely different than it was six months ago.
But perhaps it’s still too soon for any change to appear. In the world of grief, I am still a toddler.