Each morning my goal is to have a beautiful day. I remind myself that I am the one that makes my day a good one. Most of the time I am successful.
This past month my ‘having a beautiful day’ system had a stress test. A good friend died and in supporting his wife (also a good friend) a lot of memories surfaced from 14 years ago when my husband, my best friend, died and I worked through the grief.
A few years later I met Peter who became my ‘significant other’ (surely there is a better term!). We’ve been together for 11 years. I was surprised when I started feeling depressed following my friend’s death. I expected to be sad – not depressed. Staying positive, happy and focused on the good around me became difficult. It took a few days for me to understand why I felt the way I did. I needed to remind myself of a piece I wrote 5 years after my husband died. It is still true for me.
My Multi-Faceted Box
By Linda Britt
It’s there-all the time. This multi-sided box, tumbling in my mind, sometimes invisible and sometimes so large that there is nothing else. It is sensitive to any temperature with clear panels that change size and color and opacity with an ever-revolving code that I cannot find and cannot control. Pictures appear and trigger memories – some welcomed and some not, some long forgotten and some very sacred-never to be lost – that feel like they are slipping away. And yet, I know they are captured. But can I find the ones I want when I want them?
After five years of becoming very familiar with this multi-sided container of mine, I know that it will never go away. I will continue living as I learn to accept the places it occupies. My box holds fragments of living and dying and it is mine. I cannot give it away. I cannot run far enough to lose it. I learn to look at it, experience it, put it away and know that without warning it will pop up to surprise me, annoy me, sadden me, and bring me joy. It is now part of me just like my ability to continue to love and greet each day.
This week I’m focusing outward rather than inward, trying new techniques in clay, walking up and down hills, working out in the gym, paying attention to the ones I love and when the sadness starts to creep in I reach for happy memories and keep busy.
The point of sharing this is to acknowledge that grieving is not a valve that can be turn off after a certain amount of time. Each of us grieves differently and it can last a long time. Accepting my process while moving forward takes some strength.