I used to cry in the shower. Not exclusively, but it provided the safest place for the most intense kind of cries where my sobs would be muffled and I couldn't tell the difference between the water coming from the spout from the tears falling from my eyes.
I used to have to convince myself to get out of bed in the morning. I'd lay there thinking about how my life had somehow turned out and how I thought it should look instead. I'd open my eyes, the ache would start, and Ryan would be the very first thing that came to my mind.
I used to write every single day. I blogged. I journaled. I would take an hour or so and sit and reflect and dream and miss and grieve. I'd allow myself the time to feel the things I needed to feel.
I used to be really angry. I was mad at God. I was mad at life. I was mad at myself. I was mad at my doctors. I was mad at the people who stepped out of my life because my pain was too much for them. I was mad at the people who didn't understand my grief.
I used to feel hopeless. How could I be hopeful for anything when the worst thing that could happen to us had happened? How could I believe that good things could still happen? How was hope even possible in the face of such trauma?
I used to think it would always be that way.
Now I cry when I feel like it, but the tears don't come as often. I haven't cried in the shower in ages. I cry when the moments become overwhelming. I cry on the milestones. But crying is okay.
Now I get out of bed in the morning to the sounds of my children calling for me. It's usually hours before I have a moment to think about myself, for myself, or for Ryan. I think about how my life is right now in that moment. Ryan comes to my mind in glimpses throughout the day and that is okay.
Now I write when I can. I haven't blogged since Ryan's birthday. I haven't journaled in months. I keep a list of things I wish I had time to write about. I just don't always have the time and that is okay.
Now the anger has subsided. My relationship with God is still a bit fragmented. Life is too short to be mad. No one is to blame for what happened. I cannot control the actions of other people. Being honest, occasionally still I feel the ripples of the anger that once burned furious inside of me, and I'm reminded that it's still there sometimes, and that is okay.
Now I have found hope once again. I can't recall the specific moment I started to feel hopeful, but it happened and I'm grateful. Because now I can look into the faces of my children and feel hope for their futures. I can look at my husband and despite any challenges we have faced or will face again I know that in time more goodness will come. Sometimes I still feel weighed down by life despite all of the blessings we have been given since Ryan died, and that is okay, too.
I used to shake my head in disbelief when people told me I'd be able to manage the pain, that grief would not always be so heavy.
Now I'm here, and I see that they were right. It's still grief. It's still pain. Just a little different now.
And it's okay.