These past 9 years, I have gracefully juggled extreme emotions. Navigated the intricate dance between happiness and grief. Joy to tears. Tears to joy. Finding the delicate balance is tough. One moment. Embrace life’s joys. Live in the moment. The next. Acknowledge the sadness. Fraught with emotions and uncertainties, I struggle to balance on life’s tightrope.
I cherish the moments of genuine happiness. Milestones. Celebrations. Laughter with family and friends. Simple joys. I smile. Enjoy the present. But there is an underlying awareness. Greg is not here. He will never share these joyous occasions.
Grief is a constant companion. It’s a shadow that follows us through the brightest and darkest moments. It’s that unexpected guest who arrives unannounced, barging into our hearts when we least expect it. It’s a void. A hole. An empty space that reminds us of the bonds we once shared with those who are no longer with us. And it can surface in the most unlikely of places.
A few weeks ago, my sister and her husband were in town. It seemed like a simple plan to meet them for happy hour. A casual gathering of family. But for me, it wasn’t so simple. The anxiety welled up inside me, threatening to overwhelm me. The anticipation was overwhelming.
To make matters more complex, several of my sister’s friends joined us. The conversation turned to travel plans. Places they would visit this year. Dreams for future adventures. These were the same dreams Greg and I had once shared. Dreams of exploring “bucket list” places together. Creating lasting memories. I sat there. Silent. An observer in a sea of animated conversation. What could I contribute? How could I explain the giant void in my heart? No one knew the pain I carried. The emptiness that gnawed at me from within. Why would they? Or why would they even think those were my thoughts?
As the conversation flowed around me, the ache and pain inside me grew more pronounced. I wanted to escape. Retreat to the sanctuary of my car. Turn on the music. Let my emotions flow freely. Music has always been my refuge. A comfort that washes away the sadness. I wanted to cry. Scream. Release my pent-up emotions. When I got to my car, that’s just what I did. Cry. Scream. I let the grief pour out of me. It was a moment of release. You’d think that after all this time, I would be past this. That grief would have loosened its grip on me. But the truth is, I’m not. Grief is not a linear journey. There’s not a perfect beginning and end. It’s a constant companion, always lurking in the background, ready to rear its head when we least expect it.
There are many days when I’m okay. I carry on with life as if grief is a distant memory. And then there are days like that one. Grief surges to the forefront, demanding to be acknowledged. On those days, I feel it intensely. I let it wash over me. I honor Greg’s memory. And then, eventually, I’m okay again. Grief may be a constant companion, but so is resilience. I am able to find moments of peace and acceptance amidst the storm.