"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.
I've missed a few Capture Your Grief days as we were having and settling in with the newest addition to our family, Ryan's baby brother, Brayden. But every single day that's passed, I have thought of this project. That's when it became really clear to me that even though Brayden is here, and seems to be here for the sole purpose of bringing me joy, Ryan will always be on my mind and in my heart. He'll always need to be thought of, and held close, and spent time with.
The nursery has been my sacred space to connect with Ryan. My place to write. To think. To just miss him,
I was very worried that would have to change once Brayden was born. I'm relieved now to say that I know that's not true. Its sacredness has simply taken on new meaning. We've only been home for a couple of days, but already the room has seen so much.
So much joy. And already a few tears.
It has undergone some physical changes. It no longer remains unchanged from day to day. It's a living space now. Messes are made. And I'm constantly popping in there to keep it clean and tidy, like it was.
The time I spend in there now is packed with such different meaning than it was before Brayden came. As I sit in the rocker and feed him, across the room is Ryan's photo, looking back at me. It's a feeling I can't quite describe. That he's literally watching over us. He's giving us his blessing. Every moment I spend in there with Brayden is yes, a reminder of what I didn't get with Ryan, but also such a gift to be given in the midst of my heartbreak.
The nursery has gotten me through some of the darkest of my days. And now, it's seeing me through some of the most joyful. Some of the most complicated and confusing. It's sacred to me because it's the one place that has seen everything, all of me and my grief, and it will continue to be somewhere I can be with both of my boys no matter what.