What a bittersweet time of year... I have always adored this season, with the cooler weather, and the excitement of the upcoming holidays. Lately though, it definitely brings on a different set of emotions and memories. Ones that didn't exist 5 years ago. Now, the first crisp fall weather day, makes it almost impossible not to feel as though I've been transported back in time to 2009. I can't believe its almost been 5 years. Sometimes, September 28, 2009 and the horrible events of that day, feel like yesterday. But, September 27, 2009, the last day we spent together and the last time I saw Brian, feels like a lifetime ago. Weird, I know.
I've been told there is really something unique to experiencing grief in the fifth year after loss, I believe it.
5 whole years.
It seems like such a vast amount of time, and yet sometimes I feel like it has passed by in the blink of an eye. So many things have changed and happened. I have been so blessed, and have so many things to be thankful for, and so many wonderful memories to lean on. But a part of me feels as though I have been on an emotional roller coaster this past month. I can, and will, cry at the drop of a hat. Although, I'm certain now that there is another little one on the way, these pregnancy hormones aren't helping that aspect.
I really dislike grief being referred to as a "process", to me that means it would consist of a beginning and an end. Not the case. I feel as though its something you learn to live with and carry with you always, and it ebbs and flows. Maybe some would think that after 5 years had passed, it would be easier. Most days it is easier to live with. But some days it's harder. And it's always there.
So, here I sit, almost 5 years after losing Brian, and so many memories, feelings, and emotions are coming back with a vengeance. Only with almost complete clarity of mind. None of the initial shock the body produces to save the mind...
In many ways the grief feels so raw. So intense, just as it did right in those first days.
But its not all bad, it's also been good.
It seems that the feelings of pain and sorrow can come out of nowhere, and knock the wind out of you. Thankfully, also, so can the good memories. Recently, I was having a bad day and felt myself feeling devastated for several senseless officers deaths around the country. I was thrown back into going over September 28th again in my mind. And the days that followed leading to Brian's funeral.
I said several Hail Mary's in my mind, and tried to refocus on September 27th instead. And that last evening we spent together. We were happy and it made me happy.
That's what I have to focus on.
It's been so fun to share more and more little things with Natalie, as she gets older. We've watched old home movies, looked at pictures, talked about things he liked and didn't like. We've been talking a lot more lately about who he was, and his personality. She loves hearing about his love of animals and hunting. His magical ability to get her to go to sleep at night, after I had tried multiple times and failed. I've told her the songs he liked and she will recognize them when they come on the radio. She loves hearing about all of the things he did to aggravate me. She giggles singing "God is great, beer is good, and Mommy is crazy." She and Brian changed the lyrics a bit on that one.
Kate knows who Brian is, and jumps right in the conversation whenever we talk about him.
And I think, what a blessing.
I have all these wonderful memories, a beautiful daughter who will always carry on his legacy, and a growing family who bring me so much joy every single day.
Natalie recently came up with the idea to raise money and make a donation to the zoo, in honor of her Dad's memory.
"He would really like that, because he loved animals. He used to want to be a vet. Did you know that Mom?" She asked me proudly with a smile.
"Yes, honey. I did know that. And I think you're right, he would love that."
She set her mind on doing something to celebrate his life. And although sometimes my heart is heavy, I am so proud. During the rough patches, that come around this time of year, she helps me to reminisce on the good times.
Life is always full of ups and downs. It was before September 28, 2009. And it is now. But it's all God's plan, and it's all beautiful.
I think back, and I smile. I look at Derek, Natalie, Kate and this new growing life and I smile.
I read something the other day, about not trying to minimize the pain of someone's grief. But instead to validate their feelings. Because it matters. Those feelings of grief matter. The person who is gone, mattered...
I am beyond blessed to have a husband who knows that, and to be surrounded by family and friends whom are there for me, when I don't even have to ask them to be.
Joy and sorrow can co-exist.
And they do.
I'll let the sorrow come and go when it needs. But I choose to live in the joy.