“Grieve Fully, Live Fully” A friend recently sent those words to me in a message. Seemed like the perfect prompt for a blog post. Grieving is something I have been doing for 5 years, 11 months and 27 days. The anniversary of my husband taking his life elsewhere is coming up, March 29th. Facebook reminds me regularly of the memories of the past. I love it and I hate it, I accept it and am growing through it.
My first thought when I saw “Grieve fully, live fully” was, to do that I had to love fully. I loved my husband deeply, totally, fully, I hope unconditionally though at times I wonder about that. Did I really? There were parts of him I wanted to change. I wanted to take away the grief from his childhood. I thought I could love him well. I wanted him to be more positive and not always see the worst case scenario.
When he first took his life elsewhere, I realized that my life had just taken a 180 degree turn. From being a well loved woman, married to her best friend, to being alone and feeling the pain of no longer having that strong shoulder to cry on, that hand to hold, my other “pea in the pod” to share all of life with. Being raised a survivor, I pulled up my bootstraps and moved into whatever my life was going to be next. It was my choice, all my choice, no one to confer with, no one to compromise with, no one to consider.
As people responded to his death in shock, sadness, dismay, some angry that he would “do that to me”, I felt that I stepped into the roll of comforter. My pain was deep but if I could help someone else through the emotions then I didn’t have to look at my own too closely.
We had been living in the bush of Alaska, population two, unless a boat pulled into the dock. One of my dearest friends came and stayed with me for the first week. She had planned a vacation to Hawaii and each morning she would ask me if I would go with her. No, no I kept replying. I had too much to do. Then the last day, I thought about it for more than just a second and realized there wasn’t anything that I had to do that couldn’t wait a week, so I said yes! We called it “Toes in the Sand Therapy”. As soon as my toes touched the sand I realized I needed to come back to Hawaii to live, to heal, to start a new life that was very different from the one I had shared for 32 years with the love of my life, my mountain man, my partner, my lover, my friend.
I went back to Alaska, got rid of all our “anchors” – the things in life we accumulate, and moved to Hawaii. I thought as I flew across the ocean, having purged belongings, said good bye to friends, that I was going to leave all the grief behind. Boy Howdy, that first night in a hotel here in Hawaii, when I realized that pain was still with me, I was angry, mad as hell!! How could this be? I didn’t want to bring it with me? I didn’t want to feel or face it. I just wanted to leave it all behind and start a new life.
Ah, sigh, if only life was that easy. As I ponder that, I realize that if it was that simple, that easy, it wouldn’t be as rich. It wouldn’t allow for growth, it wouldn’t have opened the amazing doors of going within that have led to true healing!!
This is the first of a series of blogs as I honor the process of grieving and what it has taught me so that I may live fully. I hope you’ll come back to read the next installment.