Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Tuesday, July 13, 2010 4:39 PM, CDT
Easier? That is the question of the day, or days, as in the past several weeks that I have asked myself and have been asked by others. Is “it” getting any easier? The answer, to no one's surprise is, “no.” In fact, the world “easier” will probably be expelled from my own personal vocabulary, at least for now, when used in any sentence pertaining to the loss of Sicily! Not for the reason that I have found myself to feel so low and so sad that I don't think things will get easier, but I have come to the honest realization that “it,” life in general, probably won't. But on the flip side, I have learned what can and often times does happen. I'll explain shortly.
To be honest, writing these words today feels a little bit out of place since I am having a really good day. Truly a blessing! The past two weeks found me in the opposite condition feeling very blue and down right depressed...not due to one obvious reason but as a result of several not so apparent reasons. I am in the deep throws of grieving and I am letting myself stomp through these trenches at my own pace. It stinks at times because I get tired of the tears and the constant heartache and the physical pain. Grieving is exhausting. It sucks the motivation and drive out of simple daily tasks and responsibilities. It is hard and somewhat debilitating at times, but it has to be experienced and confronted.
One incredible lesson that I am just now learning is that grief and happiness can co-exist. Two emotions on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but they can be experienced together, sort of. My pendulum is in constant motion these days, swinging from sadness to happiness within minutes of each other at times. Some days it swings as fast as those little silver balls on one of “Newton's cradles”...that little contraption that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy. Don't ask me to explain any of that. I just know what a Newton's cradle is and find it an intriguing device to stare at and an easy way to describe my emotional state these days. Yes, I will also admit that this constant change in emotions sometimes makes a person feel a little on the crazy side, which is utterly draining! I am supposed to be here...where I am currently at...in this process. This is part of my path to healing. One day I will regain control, for the most part, of my swinging pendulum and it will rest once again in its equilibrium position. In other words, I won't cry one minute and bust out laughing the next the way I seem to be doing now. But like I said before, happiness is still present and grief is letting it appear from time to time. I grab those moments and enjoy them to their fullest knowing they may disappear and not resurface for awhile. I'm just thrilled I am able to find them at all!
Our vacation was wonderful, and I would still like to touch on a few aspects of it later, most likely in another journal entry. It was difficult for me, even though I enjoyed it for the most part, but at the same time I just missed the heck out of that spunky sixth member of our family. The number five just feels strange. We returned on Friday evening, unpacked multitudes of suitcases, conquered mounds of laundry, and repacked once again to tag along the following week on Tuesday to accompany Patrick on a business trip to Kansas City. I used to actually enjoy packing and organizing our belongings for trips. Nowadays, packing has become an activity that I find myself loathing. Packing for a hospital stay every third week became wearisome! Maybe someday this new found hostility towards a sometimes necessary act will fade and I won't dread it as much as I do these days. Time will only tell on that one.
Our trip to Kansas City is one we have ventured on before and we are somewhat familiar with our surroundings. The kids and I entertained ourselves while Patrick attended to his business needs. I was already experiencing my emotions as such where it probably would have been better if I'd have just stayed home, but it was also going to be my birthday the following day and I needed for our family to be together, no matter where we were.
Patrick, only knowing a couple attendees at this meeting, went to dinner along with others who were there from different parts of the country . He found himself sitting next to a stranger, a man from New York. He said something caught his eye on this man's jacket and after several glances realized it was a small shiny gold ribbon that was pinned to his lapel. Pediatric Cancer Awareness is represented by a gold ribbon. This stirred Patrick's intrigue and forced him to ask the man if he'd mind sharing the significance of his gold ribbon pin. Although most people don't realize what it may stand for, Patrick knew perfectly well. I can only imagine when asked, the man looked down at the pin he had placed there himself before he explained it's meaning to my husband. He said it is for his son who died eight years ago from a rare children's liver cancer. I think Patrick was caught speechless for a moment. With all the other people he could have sat next to at dinner that night, Patrick sat next to a man who knew his pain. He truly knew. They talked for awhile, probably not as long as either one could have on the subject, but Patrick was able to proudly share Sicily's story through loving words that fell on empathetic ears.
Patrick was excited when he returned to our hotel room to share with me his experience and some of the wisdom this veteran griever had to share. His message, in brief, was that “it,” meaning life, does not get easier. The loss of a young child does not appear to be healed by time, like we are told by others who are trying to help us see to the end of the grief tunnel. Time healed my heart when I lost each one of my grandparents. Time has healed my once teary-eyed (and still occasionally so) emotional state over the loss of my beloved father-in-law, Frank. I can now look at pictures of all of them and recall memories without soaking through a box of Kleenex like I do when I think of Sicily.
The father seated next to Patrick continued to explain what can and does happen further down the road. We will learn, over time, to adjust and adapt. Easier, no...adjust and adapt...yes. “Easier,” by definition...as if I need to really explain to anyone, but it helps to understand the point if I do...means: capable of being accomplished or acquired with ease; requiring little effort or endeavor, posing no difficulty; free from worry, anxiety, trouble or pain. Those words seem to fit no where in how I perceive my grief process. The other two words, adapt and adjust, seem to fit perfectly! “Adapt” means to adjust to a specified use or situation; adaptation is something that undergoes change to fit new circumstances.
“Adjust” means to change so as to match or fit; to conform or adapt, as to new conditions. I like how each definition contains the other complimentary word. It makes sense to me. I know and believe and accept now that life will not get easier without Sicily, but I will one day look forward to being able to Adapt and Adjust! That goes for anybody who has or will ever have to deal with a life changing situation. The word “easier,” at least in my future, will now be used to only describe the level of a Wii game and not the condition of my life! I will try, as well, to ask others if they are finding themselves adapting and adjusting to their new life. I welcome the same question to be asked of me and my answer, as of today, is, “Not yet, but I will!” Hope still reigns at the mercy of God's Hands!