Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Last of Five

It's incredible what a shower can do for my mood.  I'd been a big blob of blah on my couch all day until I showered this evening.  Anything and everything went through my mind.  I thought about what I was doing on this day five years ago, I thought about what I was doing on March 4th five years ago.  (I chose not to think about what I was doing on March 3rd five years ago)  Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of TJ's death.  It's remarkable how much I have changed.  It's remarkable what I have accomplished.  It's remarkable the song that just came up on my play list.  The lyrics are "Are you alone, are you alive?  Are you the sun, are you the sky?  Are you forever or are you tonight?"  How could I have known on this day, five years ago, that it would be our last night together?  It was just any other night and yet it is forever burned into my mind.

Memories are so interesting.  I heard once that each time we remember something, we're only remembering the last time we remembered it.  So, like a game of telephone, I'm sure my memories of TJ have become distorted.  I'm ok with that.  I like my memories exactly as they are (and now he's not here to argue with me about who remembers things correctly).  Joking aside, the memories I have of the days immediately before, during, and after TJ's death are intense.  The ones that have come up the most today are the really good ones.  Like how, the night before he died, I got home from work at a decent time, did two rounds of a Bhangra dancing workout, took a shower, and danced around the kitchen with soapy arms as I did the dishes and sang at the top of my lungs.  He got home late from his grad school class and I skipped to the stairs, soapy arms and all, to kiss him.  Another memory that came up was that of the day after TJ died.  I had so much to do as soon as I woke up.  We had a meeting at the funeral home at 8am to choose a casket and discuss all the details of the viewing and funeral.  From there we had to go straight to the cemetery to choose a plot.  A mere hour between that and the meeting at the church was all I had for rest.  And in that hour my parents and I went home to have lunch.  My friend unexpectedly showed up at the perfect time to catch us while we were home.  I invited him to have lunch with us and he stayed.  As my parents chatted he reached under the table and held my hand.  That's all.  He gave me his presence and his hand.  I'm not sure if I've ever told him what a precious gift that was.

Sometimes it scares me to trust my memories.  Did it really happen that way?  What would a bystander say about the same memory?  My friend had suffered the loss of his sister when they were young.  He was my savior that day he came for lunch.  To be in the company of someone who knew what that felt like brought me a calmness that I cannot describe.

This is going to be my last post.  The evolution of my grief has been amazing.  Grieving openly was, for a long time, the best way for me.  Now it doesn't fit.  It feels incredibly vulnerable to grieve openly now.  My grief is not nearly as overwhelming as it has been.  The ways in which it appears is more subtle.  I treasure being able to have those moments of grief privately.  This journey is such a deeply personal one.  I am so proud of each moment.  I am also at a point in my life that I am ready to cut the ties that bind me to victimhood.  Grieving openly garners sympathy which no longer serves me.  I am strong, powerful, and empowered.  I am dissociating from widowhood.  I began this process in my heart over the past year and a half however only just a month ago in my surroundings.  I have donated or sold all of TJ's possessions that I had kept.  Having his energetic stamp in my space was not allowing me to fully step into this new life I have created for myself.  I have the most precious of belongings from TJ that fit in a small tupperware storage box and that is all.  I feel light.  I feel free.  Was it difficult?  You bet your ass it was.  And it was so so worth it.  Material possessions do not bind me to TJ.  My heart and soul bind me to TJ.  I feel this was the final step I needed to take to fully embrace the present and future of my life.

I once told another widow that this is the shittiest club you'll ever be in but at least we're in it together.  Now, I recognize that it's not just about being a widow.  It's about being human.  "We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty." -G.K. Chesterton

Thank you, dear reader, for your listening and for your love these past five years.  Thank you for being in this boat with me.  Each of you is a blessing and I promise to send your love, through me, back out into the world. 

With Deep Gratitude,
Courtney