Seven years ago, the 13th of April fell on a Friday. It was the day we buried Emily. This year, the 13th falls on a Sunday. (hmmm, there's something to think about: 7 is the number of the Lord and Sunday is the Lord's day, hmmm)
Spring is my favorite season. I love it and I dread it. The memories: April 4th - Emily's 16th birthday, in the ICU, amidst the ventilator, dialysis, and all those IVs. April 9th - the decision to discontinue life support and the day of her death. April 13th - the funeral. The closing of the casket marked the end of my old self and the beginning of my new self.
I have walked the dark path of grief. I've been the "pinball" careening from one emotion to another. I've been the faker, pasting on the "I'm OK" face while my heart is a stone. I have scolded myself -that "at least it's not..." and imagined all sorts of worse things that could have happened. I've told myself to suck it up, to put on my big girl panties and act like a grown up, to get over it.
And this year, 7 years out, I went to grief group. And in front of strangers, I bared my soul. To them and to myself. And this is what I learned.
Life not an event, but a journey with new experiences
Never say "At least it's not..." how diminishing that phrase is
Don't let anyone 'should' on you
It's heartbreaking to God, too
Tears are emotions turned liquid
DO NOT HAVE TO HOLD ON TO THE PAIN
Grief is exhausting
My story is part of that journey
I have been through some **** (doo-doo), and I am entitled to act like it
Being selfish is OK - take care of myself
Balance in everything
It is what it is
Even though Emily is not here, she still has a place in my life.
It's not a closed chapter in the book, it's a new chapter in my story
Be gentle with others
Be gentle with myself.
In the 5th meeting of the grief group, I looked around, and instead of seeing strangers, I saw friends. People who have, without judgement and without advice, have listened, accepted my outpourings.
But after barren winter, spring comes and the earth is reborn.
One of my favorite songs is "here comes the sun" by the Beatles
Spring is here. Memory: every morning, Emily used to pick daffodils to take to school to give to Cayley, her best friend. Last week, I walked past the house that we used to live in. It's empty now. I saw the daffodils that Emily used to pick. I picked some and sent a picture to Cayley. And I dug up some of those daffodils and planted the bulbs at our new home.
Today is the last gathering of our grief group. And I will bring Emily's daffodils bulbs to give to the group.
There's a very different feeling inside me this spring. I am grateful. I'm free-er, lighter, happy. Oh yes, I'm realistic, grief is still a part of me, but today I am happy.
So I will share my new favorite song, but it comes with a warning. Don't click on this unless you want to "Be Happy"