No expiration date
To me, the one year anniversary of Chris’s death held a lot of importance….March 22, 2012. It was significant to me in that it was the marker of all I had accomplished by myself. Coping with all the seasons and holidays of the year, alone. Making a cuzillion independent decisions, supporting my family financially and emotionally, parenting alone…and growing, more than I could have ever imagined, and maybe a little hope in there that now the grieving would be easier.
Things like milk, eggs, mayonnaise, meat and fish need an expiration date. At some point you need to throw them away…but does grief have an expiration date? In this second year of grief I found that the “time heals all wounds” is a bit misleading when it comes to grief. Gone is the symbol of hope that if you make it to the one year mark you will be in a much happier and pain-free place. I will never wake up one morning and feel the way I did before my loss. I am changed forever. It’s weird missing who you once were. Spring, an anticipated season by all, now holds a sadness that clings to me and won’t let go. What I’m starting to understand is that grief is a life-long journey. An emotional handicap you get up, and live with everyday. It doesn’t mean you can’t lead a happy fulfilled life, but it is a choice, and takes work, a lot of work. It’s almost like you rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. So what does time give you? perspective, I think.
I am also learning that the time leading up to these “anniversaries” is worse than the actual day itself. Reliving those last moments, thinking about what you would have done or said the last time you saw your loved one. The resurfacing of memories that you tucked away all year because they are too painful. Then there is the helping 5 other people (children really) navigate their grief, again. By the time the actual anniversary day rolls around, it is almost a relief to know you just have one more day to get through and then you have a fresh year in front of you. I much prefer looking forward than behind these days, as scary as it may be. I’m determined to live each day to its maximum potential.
So, tomorrow, as I enter this third year of grief, as many who have gone before me, I pray I will wear the grief “jacket” with dignity and grace, free of bitterness. It’s becoming familiar but I’m sure it will never be comfortable…but isn’t it our uncomfortableness of a heavy burden that draws us to Christ? Forcing us to depend on his grace in bearing the burden?
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
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