And so... It has been Eight Years.
And so, it has been eight years.
I wonder each year how I may feel on the day that marks the anniversary of your 'leaving'. I wonder, those who do not know us well, if they might think I am being overly dramatic because you are (technically and in body) still here.
But eight years ago, you did just that. You left. I know it's not your fault, and for the most part, my misplaced and irrational anger towards you for 'abandoning me' has dissipated.
You went, Alex.
You left yourself as a different person, a human being I had to re-learn about. I had to learn how to communicate with this entirely different person. I had to learn to love a new and very different man. I had to reestablish how I loved you - for it was no longer in the traditional husband-wife formation. I had to learn to build and reconstruct my family without you yet incorporating you in an altogether different way. I had to learn about love and its many diverse forms.
The trajectory it threw me upon has ultimately been the making of me - I opened my mind and established a pattern of thinking that has saved me. Rather than closed sentences and full stops, I learned to put 'what if?' at the end of my thoughts, rather than 'this is impossible!' I reformed these phrases to 'yes, but what if?'. I had (still have!) no answers, but the 'what if?' inflexion means you shift something, open something, push something ajar, and the rest flows or at least begins to. It has been a healing question, an opportunity rather than being surrounded by dead ends and full stops.
As I write this, my heart aches and I still don't have the ability in my heart to remember you before, to allow the memories in, it hurts. It hurts too much, so they are kept silently afloat on my soul ebbing along in the background in anticipation that one day they can sail through me, my mind and I can remember, but I'm just not ready yet.
I am endlessly grateful for all you have taught me. Parenting alone has been the most beautiful challenge. The rewards of which I have reaped a thousandfold. To love you in a new concept of the word love has also been, at times, a terrifying trial. And yet I do! It is the most beautiful unconditional love AGAPE. And I have you to thank for teaching me some of the most important life lessons and skills imaginable.
These past few months I have been letting go of the pain Alex. I have held on so long to the immense amount of pain I felt in losing you. I began by practising the 'what if?' question around it. My reasons for holding the pain were that it was all I had left, that it belonged to me, it was mine. I lost everything when I lost you - I nearly lost myself. I knew I needed to let go of the pain for myself, yet I didn't know how - also, where would that leave me? What would that void be filled with? Joy, someone said to me - fill it with joy. How flippant! I thought at the time, yet how simple and how very necessary.
Eight years on I am still learning, still open to learning. I am releasing pain I have clung to as though my life depended on it - although what I realise now is that my life depends on letting it go.
Eight years on, I no longer reject my pain or my grief - I live in harmony with it, knowing the weave of these elements are golden in their thread and enhance my being, strengthen my love, they've taught me compassion, patience, resilience. My pain and my grief is mine, but it is also there to transform me to be a better human for others, a better friend, a better mum, the golden weave throughout my being - actually quite conversely to how I used to feel about it - resuscitates my heart, gives me life. I used to think it strangled me, tore me into irreparable pieces, now I realise it's my greatest strength... And that is because of you. You are in me, you live on in me in the richest way, and I thank you for making me, me.
Eight years without you, eight years and I am finally learning how to love my grief and integrate it by accepting and respecting it. In doing so I have ultimately learned to love you like never before.