I’ve been doing really well lately. I’ve felt confident about my purpose as I move forward after loss. I’ve felt strong and determined. I’ve met challenges I didn’t think I could handle by myself and I’ve overcome.
But then the bungee cord tightens and ZING! I’m flung through the air in reverse at high speed. Sigh. It’s a #$&*!! Bungee cord. Grief is only letting me move forward at its pace, not mine. It’s in charge, no matter how much I believe I’m in control. When I try to speed ahead, to break free from it, the tension builds and I’m slowed down until the cord can’t stretch forward any more. Then it hurls me back. It forces me to deal with it.
And then, time after time, I regroup and move forward again. Each new attempt forward takes me a little farther though, as the cord stretches, but it still becomes taught if I try to move too far, too fast.
Yesterday I realized I couldn’t find my password spreadsheet (yes, again – and yes I know about online password keepers. I’m just dumb). It started out as an annoying inconvenience and developed into a full-blown panic attack. I tore apart every drawer, paper pile and cupboard looking for that thing! I blamed the kids (they didn’t do it this time), I yelled, I cried, I prayed. Nothing.
I logged into my email, because surely my organized husband who made the spreadsheet for me must have emailed it to me at one time, right? And because I never delete emails (I know, I know), it must be on my computer! I searched his name as sender. What followed was a grief spiral I couldn’t reign in. I found emails about trivial matters like “Did you pay the taxes yet?” and “Remember Lolo has Girl Scouts on Saturday.” “Want to go to the Saturday church service this week?” They took my mind back to the time when he was here and able to help drive the kids to and from activities. When he was part of our life, able-bodied and life was “normal.” I found pictures he sent me when he was on an outing with the kids. But none of the messages hit me as hard as the two emails I found next.
This one was written in June, 2014. Almost two years before he died. Life hadn’t even begun to get difficult yet. He was walking with a cane but mostly able bodied. I’m sure I read this at the time it was sent, but not with the perspective I have now. This is such a gift – and also it knocked me down. Not only did the Bungee cord propel me backwards with this, it threw me head first into a brick wall. Here’s the email:
You need to know that I love you and I am grateful beyond words for the blessing from God that you are to me.
I know that you are struggling with my condition perhaps even more than I am. I see how caring for me is so hard, and that you’ve taken on almost everything that needs to be done to keep our home running. I know that watching me in pain hurts you too, and I love you for trying to bear that with me. I thank God for you every day, and I pray for strength and peace for you always.
I know you’re exhausted by the work of trying to help me, meet the needs I have that I can’t meet, plus being the primary caregiver for all our kids without much assistance from me. I pray for ways to lighten your load.
You are an amazing mother and wife! I am amazed at how you keep it together so well, even if you don’t think you are. You really are amazing!
I am so in love with you, and wish I was better at showing that to you. All that you do, and still finding time to love all those around you is an amazing witness to the power of God, and you inspire me daily. I am praying for you, and for ways I can ease your burden. I am so sorry you have to deal with all this, but I know you do it all out of love for me and our family.
You are, and will always be, the love of my life. My only regret is that we didn’t find each other sooner in our lives. You are my anchor and my greatest help as I struggle with a life I didn’t plan for.
I simply love you beyond words or actions, and I thank God for you every minute!
THIS WRECKED ME!!! It filled me with a longing for my husband I couldn’t contain. I cried bawl out loud tears. My eyes were puffy and my nose stuffed up for hours. I’m so thankful I was his wife but I miss him more than I can handle at times like this.
I took a break to blow my nose and take an Ibuprofen. Because I was still panicked over the lost password spreadsheet, and still confident it lived in my email somewhere, I started searching again. Nope, not going to happen. Here’s the next email I found. It was sent in November of 2010. My husband had recorded my kiddos singing Happy Birthday to me individually. Their sweet baby voices made me smile. I had forgotten how Gman’s voice was always raspy when he was a little guy. And Lolo and her Ethel Merman vibrato phase – ha! I was knocked down again at the end of the audio file when my husband sang to me and had a message he spoke directly to me. The audio file is below – just click the play arrow. My kids would probably kill me if they knew I posted this audio – don’t tell them.
I haven’t heard his voice – especially his healthy and strong voice in so long! That’s it! I was ruined for the day. Oh, how I want him. I want to hug him and tell him how grateful I am to have him. I want him back! The kids heard the audio and it turned into a family snot fest of tears. Even the emotionally resistant one couldn’t help herself. Grief sucks.
Not remembering him by suppressing our emotions isn’t a good option (or even possible). And remembering too much still hurts and breaks us in half. So when we go too far in either direction, the grief Bungee cord snaps us back into submission. It demands with the authority it possesses, “DEAL WITH ME!” And so we do, even though it sucks.
Today I’m standing upright again, dusting myself off and beginning the long trek forward again. I’ll try to get better at paying attention to when the cord is tightening so I can pause and deal with it, instead of taking it to the max and being thrown back. I’m learning. Slowly. And I’m realizing grief demands my attention. That doesn’t mean I’m not healing and it doesn’t mean I’m stuck. It means my love was so gigantic that my grief from the loss of it can’t be quickly swept under the rug. I’m going to be happier and emotionally healthier if I meet grief head on instead of assuming it isn’t there anymore. It’s always there. I’m still learning how to give it the attention it needs so it doesn’t go all Bungee cord Ninja on me next time.
I’d really love to have you with me for every post moving forward. Will you subscribe? You can subscribe HERE and have every post delivered directly to your inbox so you can read it when you have the time.
Don’t forget to “like” and follow the Extra Grace Required Facebook page HERE. It’s not all the same content – don’t miss out!
Twitter more your thing? Find me HERE
Want to see all of the crafty things I pin but will never actually make? I’m on Pinterest – follow me HERE.