I love this quote….
“Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss.”~Dean Koonz
For so long I was driven to my knees by the weight of the loss.
Driven to isolate and act out and feel sorry for myself and drink to not feel it, to not remember, because the weight was so big, so overwhelming.
Grief was destroying me, and maybe did destroy me a little.
It took away some things I can’t get back, like time and relationships.
Grief did not focus me, it took me, it shook me.
I read the above quote and can so easily wrap myself in the loss again…what is the point of going on without that, that love and that sanctity. How could I have been so stupid to not have recognized at the time the grace I was given, the gift?
I did recognize it though, I did. I knew I was lucky; I was loved, I was in love. But we live our lives as if nothing will change, we are unaware, most of us, of the fact that things can change in an instant, a heartbeat. Or lack thereof.
Now I try to be driven by the gratitude. I fail, a lot. I so easily go into “poor me “mode, default position.
I so easily think that my life is worth nothing , that I have nothing to offer, well…I do have things to offer. Maybe I should say I feel often that there is nothing left for me, to me. That I see a number of years spread out before me without a partner, without…without. I can easily say without Tom, but that isn’t really it as much anymore.
Because today I am driven to my knees by gratitude for what I had with him. I DO understand the amazing life I led and appreciate it beyond measure. I listened to him today, his voice, singing….and I was so moved but not knocked out like I thought I would be. I was grateful…for him, for the gift that I have in even having his voice recorded. Lots of gratitude today.
But I temper it with fear and frustration and worry and all of those feelings that are not really NOW, not in the moment. When I stay now, right now, I do better. I am more grateful, less hateful…. (I can’t remember where that’s from, but I like it). Because when I go to the dark places they are filled with hate, with self-loathing and dark thoughts and worries. The feeling, like I said above, that there is nothing left for me. I will never have another relationship, not enough money, no job, no more joy.
I love the next quote too, because it speaks to the fact that this is life, in all it’s pain and glory, and that we are moved and touched by it…that scars are left, and we limp along, while still dancing.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott
― Anne Lamott
My heart will never seal back up. I am glad it won’t. I have found ways to be of service through this loss, by working with others in grief, and in recovery. I am grateful, in a very weird way, for this pain that allows me to open up to life in ways I never imagined.
At the same time I am bitter and sad and angry and lost. I have so much work to do, still, and I am tired. Guess what? I am tired.
Is this a hopeful or hopeless post?
Both, it is both, just like my life. Just like your life. We dance between those two places all our lives, through all the mess and wonder. We choose, daily, which side of the scale we will land on. We accept that fact, that we can choose our daily grace, or lack thereof.
Our heartbeat, or lack thereof.
Today I choose hope. I’m not really feeling it, but I choose it.
Just for today.
Tomorrow I get another chance to choose it again, or choose differently.
Like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow.