Because my chilis have the week off from school, I didn’t have to be up as early to get ready to go to work myself. Consequently, I pushed my snooze button three times. And, not surprisingly, the kiddos – who had all asked to sleep in my bed last night – had already advanced downstairs by the time I reluctantly agreed to turn my alarm off and stare at the ceiling awhile.
This is the week; the anniversary of Heather’s death. I know it’s a hard time when I haven’t even rolled out of bed and I already want to crawl back in.
That is an interesting sensation, of course. I think it’s really the internal desire to have some place – some warm, dark, comfy, and safe place – where I could just snuggle into and everything else would just stop being what it is. Most of us are familiar with that little fantasy cubby, I think. Sometimes when I see the depiction of a character in the movies or TV that has essentially lost their cheese, and winds up rocking back and forth smiling and humming in the corner, I think to myself: “They found it! They found that place!”
Alas, the time for laying in the bed came to an end, the shower happened, and the day continues.
A particular sensation of grief that remains consistent, is the desire to remember and relive. This week is so significant as an anniversary, I feel literally pulled towards trying to recall what happened on each day. And I’ve noted each year that there are different nuances about how I wish I could change what happened that week regarding my own experience of the inevitable. But usually, after playing out a few scenarios in my mind like a dream sequence, I get a little scared and have to shut it down; I’m always concerned about the phenomena of remembering events incorrectly, and I don’t want to lose what actually happened.
So it’ll be a rough week. My three young people have been having more frequent boughts of grief all month. There is much of life to live and create aside from just remembering the worst week of my life, but the difficult experience of memory is very important nevertheless. And with it all, comes the repeating truth of one of the greatest realities that I settled into three years ago and am reminded of every year since; a reality I will surely repeat over and over this week…
There is no grief or pain of loss that can make me wish I had never loved her. There is no scenario in which it would have been better for me to have not loved at all. If I had stayed neutral, if I had not cared as much or connected to her as much as I knew how, I would not be hurting like I do; I wouldn’t miss her the same. Life, obviously, would not be as hard if I’d just kept my soul to myself and taken no risk to adore her.
But in the rubble of crushed faith and dreams, one thing remains a stalwart truth for me; a small dogma I still own: it was better to have loved her and lost her, than to have never loved her at all.
As such, I hope you’ll love someone deeper and harder and more fiercely – this week, especially.
That’s right – I’m proselyting for you to choose to love more.
Loving that much is something we’re all capable of, but there comes a point on the journey of relationships, where I really believe the steps become a choice; a scary, risky, difficult choice. We all know inherently that everyone of us will die, and all things on this world end. But to love someone as though you weren’t protecting yourself from that imminent loss; to choose to build a bridge over the space between you, knowing that someday it will be irreparably demolished – this is the greatest offering life gives us.
I can barely breathe, still, knowing I can never walk my bridge to her again. But constructing it was still the best thing I’ve ever done.
And now on with Monday.