Some people look at New Year’s to gauge their progress or reflect upon the year. And upon life in general. For me it’s October 7th.
It’s how I mark the time I guess. Not intentionally. But it is the day that altered my life profoundly.
Before she died. After she died.
It has become a marker of change and transition.
Looking back over this past year much is the same.
My sons are all well. The two youngest with me, the two adults off on their own, the oldest of those two across the ocean for his 4th year.
I’m still with my partner and I still love him like crazy. Our relationship has become stronger and much more effortless while continuing to grow into something very beautiful.
I’m still alcohol free entering into this cycle – I was nearly two months alcohol free entering into the last cycle. It has become more ‘normal’ for me now.
I began a new job, and quit it because one day while working I couldn’t stop crying and I just felt horrified and embarrassed and realized how much anxiety the work brought me as ‘simple’ as it was and never took another shift. (the people themselves were great and I really enjoyed working with them). I then asked for my old job back and so now I’m back with them.
But I also took on another new job – part time job working as parish administrator which is very different for me. It’s been challenging to learn but also very interesting.
We got a pet bunny, and two pet rats. My large dog tore her cruciate ligament which ended up requiring surgery. My two youngest boys lost their grandfather. One of those two boys begun assessments for autism and that has just finished, he also was diagnosed with a learning disability.
And of course Covid came to town.
But this morning, as I look out the window and observe the autumn hued green of the leaves on the alder – the colour they turn before they fall – it all seems like background noise. Like somewhat muted static. Beginnings and endings, global news, drama, constant chatter, chaos, smiles and tears all just endlessly looping.
Today, right now, this morning, is the pause.
before and after.
Before I understood how ugly and physically painful grief could be.
Before the RCMP officer knocked on my door. And after he said the words.
No, there is no joy after grief. Because there is no after grief. There are times of joy alongside grief. There can be laughter. There are new experiences to be had, new memories that get added to our internal database.
But grief sits there observing. Quietly and sometimes not so quietly. A new layer added to the lens through which we view the world.
I miss her just as much, four years later. The only difference is that missing her gets more and more exhausting and so the brain takes more breaks from remembering. Which in turn breaks my heart each time I realize that time has passed without hearing her voice in my mind.
There is no comfort in visiting her grave because my mind is too aware of her shell decomposing beneath me. Nor is there comfort in fanciful ideas of being in ‘heaven’ in God’s arms, or any other make-believe story passed on throughout time.
She is just gone. Not here to hug, to hear, to speak to. I felt her torn out of my being when she passed. A cold, heavy, horrible, crushing separation.
From the earth we come and to the earth we return.
Sometimes I feel her presence, the vibrational energy of her like the reverberation of a musical note after it has ceased to be played. Most often in the falling leaves, in the setting sun, and sometimes I can almost see her sitting at the kitchen table playing happily on her 3ds, probably Animal Crossing. Something cute, sweet and beautiful. Just like her.