I’ve been thinking for awhile about this month. Exactly one week from today it will be a year. A year without my Sam.
365 days to learn to live without him…but the truth is I’ll never live without him. Every day, a reminder. A remembrance. He’s here.
There are things I know and things I don’t. I’ll start with what I know. It’s more important anyway.
1. Never stop praying for widows and orphans. Tell them. We get strength from knowing you’re with us on this journey. I’ve met many widows and learned many stories during this past year. Prayer is the only thing that universally seems to help. Just knowing someone is interceding for you when you really don’t have any more words is a gift.
2. Tell your stories and listen to ours. It helps to bring our loved ones back, through moments recalled. It helps to hear stories we’d long forgotten or may not have even known. It helps to be able to share a memory without thinking it might make you uncomfortable. We lived and loved and made a life with someone. It mattered. It matters.
3. I’ll never be over this. Why would I want to be? There’s not going to be a day when I’m “ok” again if that is defined as how I used to be. I am forever changed and I’m still figuring out what that means every single day.
4. Every day is a challenge, not just angelversaries ( the day our loved ones passed) , anniversaries, birthdays, special days known to us alone. There comes a point we have to give in to this new reality. It doesn’t mean we are accustomed to it. No. It doesn’t mean we have accepted it. No.
We walk with it. We keep moving.
Which brings me to this word: March.
The month I kept thinking about. The month when Sam was born. The month he died. And all the days and Marches ahead. And within that word, another meaning: move. Move forward, keep going. Day by day and step by step. March on. Yes. Minute by minute is not a cliche. It is a truth.
I am indebted to the friends I’ve made this past year, and to the ones who stayed throughout the days. It was hard, I know. It is hard. We sometimes don’t know what to say or do, or we say or do the wrong thing.
There is no instruction manual.
At some point, we just all have to admit this grief thing really sucks. It’s horrendous and ugly and brutal and unkind. It’s a mental and physical war. It’s a level of exhaustion I’d never known–mentally and physically. It is torment. Insomnia. White noise. Brain fog. Numbness and searing pain. You feel your soul cry. It is an attunement like no other.
I am learning to move again. Moving toward good things while I have this window of time. How big a window? We do not know. But today I saw an orchid bloom that I thought I’d killed from neglect. Life is filled with surprises. Watch for them.
I wanted a book club and a bible study and by chance ( ?), ladies showed up in my life with those very opportunities.
My sister and I travel when we can. My dearest friends and I meet for food, for movies, for laughter.
Sara and I opened our etsy shop.
Samuel and his beautiful wife have a baby on the way.
I teach adults. I write. I create art.
The snow fell in big drifts.The jonquils spread their sunshine across the yard. The ducks and geese and cardinals show up.
I still say Honey, I cleaned out the lint trap.
And in the silence I hear him say, OK good.
And I hear him say a hundred other things. Because we can all move on with our days but our loved ones come with us. They are with us, marching ahead, just around the bend, and sometimes, they double back and we know it. You only understand that if you’ve lived it. I don’t want you to understand. I just want you to believe me. I’m living it and I know it.
I don’t want to dread any days of my life. I’ve already seen enough of that. Loss teaches us something. It taught me no fear.
I’m really not afraid of anything anymore. I say my prayers and ask for God’s help and keep moving. That’s what I do.
What will the next year bring? We cannot know for sure. We can meet it with determination, though. We are here for however many minutes, and we have something to do.