Monday, September 29, 2014

Looking Back

Today, I perused this ol' blog where I've chronicled grief from nearly the very beginning. There were only 6 days between Rick's last day on earth and the start of this blog, so every new entry has been showcasing the reality of life after death. This blog, more than anything else, is a journey. A readable journey.

So tonight, I went back... and I clicked the 29th of each month...to see where I was in grief one month ago, two months ago, three months ago, four months ago...


On May 29th, just 11 days after Rick died, I was picking up his suicide note at the police barracks...

It is the saddest note I've ever read. But Rick's last words to me were full of love, apology, and thanks. "Thank you for being the best wife to me any man could ever ask for," he wrote. It breaks my heart that the man I loved thanked me before ending his own life... but it gives me a small amount of peace to know that his last feelings were perhaps of gratitude rather than despair.

***

On June 29th, I was re-reading the poems I once wrote for Rick in a bound red book I had given him as a wedding present...

The poem I put in the obituary was one of mine, and it was one of Rick's favorites. It sums up what my heart needed to say. I looked at the red book today, the one I gave him as a wedding gift over 6 years ago. I held it in my hands for a long while before opening it. And when I opened it, before I even realized what was happening, I started reading the first poem out loud. When I had finished the poem, I wiped my eyes, closed the book, and told Rick I'd read him another one tomorrow.

***

On July 29th, I was holding on to hope to carry me through, once the shock and terror had worn off...

I have long said that hope is my favorite personal value. Some people value honesty above all else. Some, strength. Others, honor. The list goes on. I value hope most of all. Without it, there can be no love. Without it, loneliness, sorrow, and pain remain forever. Hope is the difference between a bad day and bad life.

***

On August 29th, I was focused on handwriting left behind and the pain of missing someone versus not missing someone...

Even more than photos of him, Rick's handwriting stirs up emotions. I want to touch each letter he penned in his big, deliberate print. I want to trace the words with my finger and remember all the beautiful and funny notes he wrote to me over the years. I don't want to miss him. But...I want to miss him.

***

Today, September 29th, my journey continues...and grief is teaching me that journeys are never over. I may be seeing a different face of grief today than I was last month or the month before or the month before... but I am moving forward, not remaining stagnant. Every month is different. And every month is difficult. But I no longer feel constricted, struggling for air in the Grief Zone.

I know that there is a long road ahead... but it seems so possible, because when I look back at the last four months, I am not even certain how I made it through. Yet here I am. Somehow, stunned and stricken, I survived many, many dark nights. And as Victor Hugo says in his masterpiece Les Miserables, "Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise."

3 comments:

  1. Your final words about not being certain how you made it through make me think of my journey through anorexia. I have read your blog and watched your recovery videos for a few years and I'm just wondering if your ED recovery has stayed strong in the face of this grief and life change.

    Obviously, you are occupied with other things, but I just want you to know that I miss your recovery videos and hope you continue to advocate for EDs in some way when you are ready.

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    1. Amy, I have been fully recovered for a long time and my recovered status is as strong as ever. I am sadder than I have ever been, but I have more will to live than ever before. I would never go back to my eating disorder, even now. I am healthy and well. Eating very heartily too, as I run to de-stress. :-) I am committed to being a mental health profession for eating disorder recovery and an advocate for all things in that realm. I just took a break because weekly videos seemed too much these first few months. I like to self-care and lead by example. Never seems right to promote self care but push myself too hard while advocating for others. The Actively Arielle site will stay strong and the recovery videos will continue. In time. Thank you for reading. :-)

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  2. Yes, the sun will rise... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw9TPUmxZB0

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Help me feel less alone.