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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brace for impact...

“Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

This time next week will be a hard day. All the pomp and circumstance of the one year anniversary the day before will be over. Just like after the hustle and bustle of funeral arrangements end and you manage to survive the actual day of the funeral, it is the day after when the quiet ensues and the let down of emotion begins to surround you. If I steel myself for it and brace for impact, then maybe it won’t wipe me out so hard…or maybe it will.

When I reflect on this past year I am amazed at how fast it has gone. I think because most of it was spent in a stupor and I didn't really even realize days were going by for so's like the first 6 months were a blur, then I woke up and the last 6 months have crept by. Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe it all crept by, day by day, in the beginning and lately time has sped up. I’ve come so incredibly far, yet still have so very far to go. I think about the coming months and all the “big” dates that will be fast approaching. The ones that did not even register on my radar last year because I was still in shock. My birthday, the girls’ birthday, our wedding anniversary, the holiday season…they will feel different this year, I know. The sting will be stronger because the numbing anesthetic of shock has worn off.

Though this year will be harder, there is also so much more to look forward to. There are so many things on the horizon for me that give me something to hope for. This time last year my outlook was so bleak- I did not think I would ever find any joy in anything ever again. I am especially grateful for some of the friendships I have that have deepened through this experience. I feel so supported and loved by such a great group of friends who have unconditionally supported me in my pursuit of hope and healing.

This coming week feels heavy and overwhelming. I’ll be busy all week with last minute plans and tasks to help get the 5k run in honor of Andie off the ground- we will run on the one year anniversary on Saturday. There has been a lot of focus on all the details over the past few weeks and it’s been weighing on my mind heavily. I’m also meeting with the home builders this week to go over the first round of plans for the house. I’m still not sure I can afford to build it on my own so that’s part of the discussion we’ll have. But I’m excited about the prospect of having a project to look forward to, and for the opportunity to literally “rebuild” a life for me and the girls somewhere. I was supposed to go out of town to visit the new guy this past weekend to give me a small mental break before this week wiped me out. Plans changed quickly though when he called and said he had an impromptu job interview down here and would be coming my direction instead. He interviewed on Thursday and we spent the weekend together. If he gets this job and moves to this area it will push our relationship to a different level. One in which, we can actually see if this could work in a real world sort of way instead of just weekend visits every now and then. I’m excited about it. But it’s also a lot to take in and consider, giving the timing of it all. He is supposed to know by midweek if he got the job or not. I must also approve the final sketch of Andie’s headstone this week. Almost a year to the day of laying him in the ground, I will finally approve what will mark his presence there forever. There’s a lot of weight in that decision and it’s not something I’m looking forward to. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, I’m starting the girls in daycare this week for the first time ever. I’m so excited that they are growing up into sweet little girls, but this huge milestone also reminds me they are not babies anymore. I am so sad about how fast they are changing and growing. I want to hold onto these sweet years with them, it is hard for me to even remember what they were like a year ago…not even walking or talking. They are the starkest reminder to me of how much time has passed and the fact that life keeps moving whether you want it to or not. Might as well get on board and enjoy the ride.

As the year anniversary draws near I think of how most of the world wants to you to be pretty much done with the grieving process by now. One year: the universal marker of healing. Most other people have moved on in their lives and they realize that certain days will still be hard for you, but for the most part they don’t want you to wallow anymore. They don’t want to keep hearing about your dead spouse or how hard your life is. This is when people start pushing you to be happy again, or get out and do things, to move on already. They don’t realize how much of your life and your major life decisions are still impacted by the loss of the person who used to help you make those decisions; or how much you still miss sharing with that person on a daily basis. Then there are those who believe you are moving on too fast, taking on too much, or who just aren’t ready to move on themselves so they are hurt by the pace you’ve set.

Those of us who grieve know that the timeline is arbitrary. It is personal to each of us and fluid in its movement. Some days we are ready to shut the door on the old life and embrace the new. Other days we want to go back in time and stay stuck in the memories of the past, hoping that somehow we can just wake up from this bad dream. We feel pulled between two worlds, stuck in the middle never knowing which direction is the right way to go. There is no right way, of course. You just have to go with your gut and hope that it’s the right decision for the time. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m not sure if I’ll build a new house, or manage a brand new relationship well, or ever be okay with the fact that the girls are continuing to grow and becoming farther and farther from the babies they were when he died…but I do know that I feel a peace in my heart about all of my decisions.

I know this next year will be hard.
I know there will be struggles and difficult decisions to make along the way.
I know my children will always serve as a vivid timeline for me, how each day we all get a little bit farther away from him.
But all I know to do is keep moving, keep striving for better, keep praying,
And of course…keep pushing.


  1. wow- that is a lot on your plate. be good to yourself through it all...only you know what is best for you.

  2. Be with every moment--the good, the bad and the sad. Never feel guilty to be joyous; never feel guilty to miss him. A year is just that...365 days. No rules of healing, no timeline. I will pray for you and the girls as the one year is honored and look forward to reading about your continued joys, realizations and wisdom. You are an inspiration to us all!