Friday, September 22, 2017

7 years ... 84 months ... 2557 days

Emotions have run strong this week. But then I've believed from the start that I must 'feel what I feel when I feel it' in order to get through this.  So I've grown quiet. Cancelled lunches and meetings where I'd have to put on the Dianne 'act'. This is the time I allow myself to be selfish and do whatever I must to just honor all that it holds and then move forward. And this one comes right after holding one of my Soul Restoration Retreats, where I shared more than I would normally share about my life and those emotions get added to the mix of my missing Vern.

Please trust that my words are not said to scare any of my newly widowed friends. If you've been following my blog, you know I'm doing well. Trying new things. Stepping way outside my comfort zone. Surviving. Thriving. Growing. Giving. Learning. But this week ... those final 4-1/2 days spent in hospice ... will always be a time that pulls me back to those early days of my grief. And that's ok. I don't carry this sadness with me throughout the year, and you will learn that, too. Oh there are triggers that can hit - mostly songs for me that stir a memory - but I no longer need to pull off to the side of the road when that happens. Now, my heart just fills with the sweet memory of the love Vern & I shared and I smile . . . and I am grateful.

I can remember joining Widowed Village and attending Camp Widow during my first year and seeing people at 5+ years still there. And that was frightening. I did not want that to be me. And yet here I am. 7 years. But oh the knowledge I have gained. Those 5+ year people were there to provide hope and an acknowledgment that we don't leave our loved ones behind as the years pass and we move forward. And they are also a reassurance that we don't have to stay stuck in that early, debilitating grief. I am thankful they were there. And I am grateful that I can now serve that role for the new widowed people joining us.

So today I find myself surrounded by the 3 full carloads of containers and boxes and bags I brought back from my Soul Restoration Retreat. I will get them organized, but not today.  And today the check engine light came on in my car. I will get to the dealer to get that new CRV, but not today. And today I learned of the passing of one of Jer's high school friends/soccer teammates. I will miss today's visitation but will attend the funeral ... tomorrow.

Today is my day to just BE. Whatever that needs to look like. I'll pull out photos. I'll read my CaringBridge journal. I'll read back through my blog entries from those earlier days. I'll remember Vern and our 41 years together. I'll remember the sweet story of our whirlwind courtship. I'll remember his smile that sparkled in his eyes. I'll remember his kindness. His strength. His love.