I’ve recently taken a hiatus from writing here. It wasn’t intentional, and there were many times that I wished I had the inspiration to write when I didn’t.
I imagine that this second phase of grieving (post-numbness) is to blame for much of the reason I haven’t written.
During this hiatus, I’ve come to learn another truth about grieving – grief isn’t linear. In the two and a half months since Francis passed away, I honestly can say that I have experienced each of the five stages of grief.
But, experiencing each of them does not mean my grief journey is even close to being complete. I have jumped from stage to stage, circled back, tried a few over, then moved on, only to find myself right back where I started.
Just a week ago I was sitting on the couch, after the children had gone to bed for the night, wondering if my life was what it seemed. Was Francis really gone? Has this new normal truly become my normal? Was I really back to denial again?
My thoughts tumbled around in my head until I found myself grappling with the concept of loss. I have told many, many people, “I recently lost my husband.” Lost? Really?
I began to get angry. I didn’t lose my husband. I haven’t misplaced him. He’s not missing. He isn’t coming home. My children won’t really know their father.
My husband died. He is dead.
This looks so stark (it sounds that way too), and remains painful. Perhaps I wasn’t able to say those words – died and dead – shortly after Francis passed away because it was just too painful on top of all the other things I was feeling at the time. But now, I need to begin to deal with that painful reality even when I can’t say it out loud.
I need to recognize that sometimes it will be hard for me to face exactly what happened in this grief process, and I’ll need to resort to the safe territory of “loss.” I can candy coat my existence just the same way I can candy coat the language. That’s ok, but I can’t allow myself to get too comfortable there.
By continuing to think of this as a loss, I feel as though I’m minimizing the situation and failing to realize the permanence of death and the void that has been left in my life because Francis is now gone.
Only if I willingly admit my painful reality will I be able to face it and move forward on my own without being crippled by the pain of Francis’s illness and death. After all, I have no choice but to take up the responsibilities of leading my family forward from this horrible valley.
My children and I will be better off if I am willing to face those things that are painful and work through them. It is hard work, and I’m not saying that everyone is ready to chuck the word “loss” from their grief process, but it’s the work that I have to do right now. Work I must face as willingly as possible in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
I know we’ll be alright. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 16 months, and I am confident that I can and will fight for what is most important in my world. This helps me know that I will emerge from this year and this intense pain.
I may emerge with many a battle scar, but one day I will look at those scars as beautiful reminders of the love that filled my life. Love that dreamed and hoped for the future. Love that created two amazing little children. A legacy of love that will live on in me and our children.
I had every intention to write weekly. I promise I won’t stop writing, but I may take a break here or there while I wait for something to inspire me or for my thoughts to come together into a coherent post.
Again, I thank you for continuing to read these posts and for your continued support and prayers.