No expiration date

I wrote this post the middle of September.  It is now the middle of October. It is a challenge to complete a task without the onslaught of memories and visions of the past. I’m not editing this post because I think it captures the ways of my heart in this season of life and this month in particular:

Here it is almost October, 2016. I find that the change in seasons is always accompanied by a quiet sense of melancholy. Especially when summer turns to fall.  And September turns to October.  There are a lot of mental gymnastics that go on in my head daily. Memories of difficult times flood my mind when I least expect it.  On appearance, I am “doing well”. I am so fortunate to have jobs that I am passionate about and to work with people who show me kindness  This summer I had a wonderful trip to Lake Louise, Alberta with my daughters.  A “once in a  lifetime” trip surrounded by mountains and a lake that is like no other.august-2016-027I have wonderful family and friends. There is SO much that I am thankful for.

And yet.

And yet there is that place deep in my heart where sorrow lives.  I miss Mike.  I miss Keith. I miss Red. I miss Lucy. I miss my father in law. I miss my parents. it is easy for my mind to go global and to allow my mind to pile on sorrow upon sorrow.  My mind tells me not to go global; to just sit and feel the sorrow, my personal sorrow.  And that is not being selfish. I’m not used to this process but the more I deny the feelings, the heavier it all gets and the wrestling continues.  “But hasn’t it been long enough?”  Mike’s been gone for four years. Move on. Live life.  I know the outward perception is that Patty’s “back”. She’s doing so well! And I am. But in my mind I can live in the “what was” and the “what is next?!”.  There are days when I almost feel like a robot. I find sparks of joy in each day but I am not sure if I am really living.  Rather, I I feel as though I am surviving.  Another day.  And THAT, my friends, is no way to live.

Why do I want to write this? What am I getting at?  I am not even sure. Words are elusive. Perhaps I want to encourage those who are suffering loss, whether it is a recent loss or one that occurred long ago. You are not alone as you wrestle with the same but different you.  A wise woman recently told me that there is no expiration date on grief.    I’ve been thinking about that a lot.  The reality is that the sadness will be with  me always.  It is not as sharp as it once was to be sure.  But the sadness is still there.  It lives beneath the surface and sometimes I just need to recognize it and give myself permission to STOP. To reach out for help. I am learning to be more honest with others about my wrestling, to ask for and receive support, expecting the relief that comes from others who choose to come alongside me.  I am much better at receiving help in practical ways. But this challenge – to ask for and receive support emotionally, when I don’t even know what that looks like in this season: when time has passed and the scars are not as visible – this is something I am struggling with.

Are there others who can relate? I hope you will share your thoughts with me and help me grow.

 

 

banff2016_mike-cairn

For Mike