Friday, December 18, 2015

There is still pain, there is still joy

I haven't blogged in a very long time.  I felt like there wasn't much new for me to talk about. What could I say at this point?  I have very hard days, I have very joy-filled days (sometimes they are the same day). I feel like I have turned a corner with my grief and with turning this corner brings
both good news and bad news.

The good news is that I don't feel like the grief is getting worse.  I have settled into a pattern of somewhat predictable ups and downs.  I'm better at recognizing when a melt-down might be on the horizon, and I'm more patient with myself when they happen.

The blood drive day
The bad news is, I think this is it. I think I've reached the point where my pain of losing Sue has healed as much as it is going to heal.  In other words, I don't think it's going to get much better than this.  I categorize this as bad news because the pain is still very present and very real.  It is just an everyday fact of life.

The end of 2015 is very near, and since I only blogged for a few months of this year, I'll try to summarize how I have worked toward healing this year.

--In June I took my kids on a camping trip. We had a week of relaxation, nature, and friends. This is the second year we have taken this trip, and it is one of my favorite new traditions.  I am finding that having a few new traditions that have started after Sue died has been helpful and healing to me.

--In August my oldest son started marching band with Sue's two boys.  This was something we had talked about and planned together.  We loved the idea of them being together in band. I went to just about every football game, sat by myself, and watched those three boys do the things Sue and I had planned. I watched them for both of us.  Then, when the end of marching band season came, I watched her oldest child be officially recognized at the band banquet for his four years of dedication to something Sue loved so much.  I watched for both of us.

The three boys, on one very cold night of marching
--On October 28th (my birthday, her death-day) I held the First Annual Suzanne McCarty Memorial Blood Drive at my church. I'm still sorting out my feelings about that day. I was proud that I helped collect 33 pints of blood for the Red Cross. I had fun greeting people and visiting with all of the many people who offered support. I felt immense pride watching her oldest boy lie down on the table and give his blood in memory of his mother.  But, in all honesty, that is not how I wanted to spend my birthday. I still struggle with the fact that I just want my old, normal life back. I wanted, REALLY wanted, to spend the day chatting with Sue on the phone and doing normal birthday things.

Now as this year is coming to a close, I can see that I have made progress, I've checked items off my "List of things that will help me heal," but I'm not all better. I am realizing that I will never be all better. There is nothing for me to do but keep moving forward, keep doing the next hard thing that seems to be around every corner.

2016 will be full of new challenges. Her oldest will graduate from high school and leave for college. Her youngest will leave elementary school and begin middle school. There will be hard days, when I miss her so much I will feel like the pain will break me apart. There will be days I will float through with a smile, memories of her lifting me up.

This is my life now: there is still pain and there is still joy.