Turning Another Year Older Without You.
Wind blusters and threatens stability. Foam, like cotton balls, flies furiously off the waves, where rocks forbid them to chase any further, and they submit, crashing defeated. Destination: massive rock pool we have never swum in before, we scramble for a good half an hour to reach the mermaid pool, arriving wind swept and rain thrashed.
As I type this, I am shivering still, fresh from the sea swim that has become a lifeline for me. I am another year older. I have spent this year without any physical contact with Alex and months and months of separation from him. It nearly ended me; I do not say that lightly.
Wednesday saw me reunited with him, I was able to hold his hands! Overcome with emotion, the mask absorbs my tears and my shaking doesn't calm for the whole visit. Never again will I take this simple act for granted, holding his hands once more was an experience I will never forget.
I have spent another year learning about myself and who I am as a person living with grief. I get tired, emotionally - it is a very different tired to physical tiredness. it is like an avalanche has landed on top of you and cannot seem to move for heaviness. When you are forced to live with grief, you cannot escape it, it is pointless resisting. I did this to begin with, ignorantly believing it would all go back to normal, that Alex would 'get better' and we could forget all about it and move on. That was 9 1/2 years ago, and we are still going and he is not 'all better' now. I have had to learn about who I have become and how grief has defined me. I have had to learn what grief has done for me, to me and learn to work with it, not against it. I have also learned that I can, and do, feel happy. I feel absolute joy in things that would probably have slipped my attention in the past. I live, I love, I laugh, I feel, I grieve, I hurt, I surmount and I whirl around in this rock pool of life with support.
One of the things I have learned in my passing time with grief, is that it reminds you of the things you do not have anymore, it requires you, therefore, to step up for yourself, hold yourself, and look at how you can nurture your wounds. It reminds me that the person who said 'you're amazing, I love you, marry me' every single day, doesn't say it any more, so I take time to remember how it felt when he said those things to me, I hold the feeling, and it is almost enough. It nourishes my aching heart a little as I allow the feeling I used to have when Alex said this to me to rest with me a while.
Grief is actually something that you have to learn to walk alongside. As soon as you are accepting of this, you are able to be at one with it. Learning when it rises up in you and how to rest and nurture yourself through these periods. Also learning the other side of it, in the joy life brings when your eyes are open to receiving. It's no one-size-fits-all strategy, we all have our own very unique path to walk and friendship to establish with it.
Grief extends its hand, never forcing, waiting patiently for you to reach back and say, ok, teach me. Grief is there to be nurtured, it is the very compost that allows the new us emerging to be in fertile ground. i love my grief, it has made me, me. And at 43 years of age today, I am grateful for all it has taught me and how I continue to grow as a result of it.
Happy birthday to me!