Song: The Scientist
I do believe in magic. I believe it's more than coincidence when Ryan "winks" at me throughout my days -- the flicker of a light, an R or butterfly appearing in an unexpected place or in an important moment, a special song on the radio at just the right time. Yes, that's magic to me. But in terms of healing, there is no magic. No spell to be chanted to make the hurt go away. No incantation to bring him back to me. It is work, not magic, that brings healing. So today, I flipped the prompt to it's opposite. Magic becomes science. And even though there isn't any one scientific way to grieve, science, like grief, is complex. The lyrics of this song are so true. "Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard." Grief and healing are hard work. But it's hard work I've learned to sink my teeth into. Finding ways to heal, like this, are places I can channel my grief.
Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh, let's go back to the start
Running in circles
Coming up tails
Heads on a science apart
Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start
I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh, and I rush to the start
Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Coming back as we are
Nobody said it was easy
Oh, it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start
I've been pretty tuned in lately to the subject of grief being tackled on TV. Both "reality" shows and scripted television. Two instances in particular really resonated with me and I wanted to "talk" about them with someone, so I figured, why not here?
The first was a few weeks ago on Dancing with the Stars. I mentioned a small point briefly on my Facebook page, but there was so much more in the episode that struck me. The "stars" were dancing about their most memorable years. And for each dance there was a package presented where the celebrities discussed why their year was so significant. I was most struck by Nancy Kerrigan's story about her journey to motherhood. She was so candid in her interviews, explaining her desire for a large family, and how in getting there she experienced 6 miscarriages in 8 years. Her emotions were raw as she talked about feeling like a failure. Grieving each loss with the belief that she was failing. But hers wasn't the only story that touched me. Dance after dance the stars revealed intimate details about their lives. Their struggles. Life-threatening injuries. Life-changing decisions. Battles with illness. It should have been so depressing. But I watched each one and noticed a trend. None of these people were defeated by the turmoil, the struggles, the hardships. Each story had some kind of triumph. Maybe not a perfect, happy-ending. But they were all able to find some light and hold on to that.
I walked away from my TV that evening thinking about the human experience. I know there are some people fortunate enough to have never been touched by particularly rough roads. But for as many who haven't, there are those who have. But the thing about the human experience is that we can be beat down by life, but it's in those ways that we rise that there is so much beauty.
About a week later I was catching up on another guilty-pleasure show, Jane the Virgin.
The show is now taking place 3 years after Jane's husband, Michael, died suddenly of complications from a gun shot wound. Jane has been struggling with talking openly about her life and experiences with Michael, when her grandmother, who also survived the death of her own husband, gives her some advice. (Which I'll now paraphrase)...
She basically explains that the more Jane talks about Michael, the easier it'll be. Which will be hard in it's own way. She says that Jane is now in a long-term-relationship with grief.
YES! I nodded emphatically at my television that day.
Bear with me for a moment while I act like a fictional character is real. But for 3 years she's been working on things. Living her life -- fully, I might add. But always struggling with her great loss. And then to hear it described so perfectly. Sigh. It was perfect. A relief to see grief explained and explored in a way I feel I've been going through it.
Because here I am. Nearing 2 years, and definitely feeling on the other side of the true darkness. But then simultaneously feeling a whole new sense of hardship because of that. Yes, definitely a long-term relationship. Complicated. Yes. But I'm finally starting to understand it.
Who said TV is a bad thing? Sometimes seeing a semblance of your own experience reflected back at you from the television can give you a lot of clarity.
"You don't have to pretend like you're not frightened. Naming your fear is part of getting through it." - Levi Lusko
I recently came across this quote on a friend's blog and it jumped right out at me. Because lately I have been dealing with a fear of my own. A fear that comes from the realization that I'm really doing great. And fear of admitting that out loud.
I'm afraid of this feeling of "better-ness." This feeling like a whole person even though I'm not -- not really. (See, I won't even allow myself to admit to feeling whole). It feels like such a betrayal of you. And deep down, I'm afraid that if I can feel this good again, then to everyone else you must be such a distant memory.
It's times like this when I'm reminded how complicated grief is. How I can feel great and still miss you so terribly every day. How looking into your brother's eyes can fill me with the greatest joy and also the deepest longing all at once.
How I can feel relief in my happiness and also be so scared of it.
Every time another month passes, and I am a little bit further away from the raw despair of losing you, I feel lighter than I did all those months ago. And when I feel lighter, I start to worry. I don't want to forget the painful feelings because they're all tangled up in my memories of you. But don't misunderstand me. I am grateful to be able to walk through my life and see colours clearly, feel joy, see hope. It's how I know it should be. What's the cliche? You would want me to be happy.
And, my sweet boy, I am. I am honestly, happy. But there will always be an asterisk by that word. Because my happiness is wrapped up in complications and confusion. And this month, as I sit in silence and think about how I'm feeling, 19 months without you here, that complication is the fear that as we continue to move forward, our time with you falls further away. And I'm left scrambling -- trying to find new ways to carry you forward with us.
It's like I'm afraid of losing you all over again. We've already lost your physical presence, and I don't want your memory to get lost in this happiness we've found.
You are as much a part of me now as you've always been.
And I hope you know my happy face isn't meant to disguise my missing you.
I guess today I just really felt the need to shout that out loud.
Love you always, baby boy.
It had been one week since I've tended to Ryan's Garden. I usually go out once every few days to pick some weeds and remove spent blooms. But with Brayden's arrival I've been otherwise preoccupied.
Today, I looked out the window, saw the garden, and thought it was time to head back out and clean it up a bit. Yes. I know I just had a baby and should be taking it easy. But my philosophy was, if I could do it sitting on a foot stool in the grass at 38 weeks pregnant, I could do it at almost one week postpartum. And I'm so glad I did.
Though I've always loved the idea of gardening, how special it is to plant something and watch it grow into something beautiful, I had no idea how therapeutic I would find it as a tool for healing. And not just the watching it grow. It's in the having something of Ryan's to care for. Having a place to go that exists simply because he does. The time I've spent out there all spring, summer, and fall has always been enjoyable time. It's peaceful out there, and the gardening is really rewarding time spent.
And then, sometimes, something really special happens in the garden and I can't help but think it's Ryan reaching out to me. Like the one single daisy that chose October to bloom. A plant that was supposed to be done blooming in July, and in fact, sat dormant for all of August and September. Then suddenly, in the month his baby brother was born, Ryan's Garden gave me this one single sweet daisy. Yes I do take that as a gift from my boy. And those kinds of gifts are exactly why Ryan's Garden has been a wonderful and calming kind of therapy for my heart.