What does grief look like after seven years? 7 years. 84 months. 30,660 days. 1,839,600 hours. 110,376,000 minutes. 6,622,560,000 seconds. Heartache. Tears. Pain. Tears. Loneliness. Tears. I wish I could say it’s “easier.” Different. But it’s not. A tough year. No reason. Nothing particular. Just tough. I want Greg back. That will never be. In my mind. I know. Reality. In my heart. I beg to differ. My heart feels empty. Yes. I am blessed. Amazing kids. Beautiful grandkids. Blessings. All. Undeniable love. Love I am forever grateful to hold. But. Not the same. I feel broken. Seven years
Signs. Surround me. White butterflies. Clouds. Music. Hummingbird. Just one. Visits daily. Flies to the back door. Flitters a bit. Flies away. Healing. Signs. From heaven. Comfort.
“Still got your number in my phone. And even though you don’t listen I still call and wait ’til the tone. Just to hear you saying, ‘Leave a message.’ Since you’ve been gone I’ve had to find different ways to grieve. There’s days that I don’t even want it on my mind but tonight I’m weak. So, I’m gonna pull out pictures, ones with you in ‘em. Laugh and cry a little while reminiscing. By myself. I can’t help that all I think ‘bout is how you were taken way too soon. It ain’t the same here without you. I gotta say, missing you comes in waves and tonight I’m drowning.” (Chris Young)
7 years. I’m drowning from the emotional turmoil. It “should be better.” Or so they say. Years flash. Memories of overwhelming “what was” and “what could have been.”
As hard as I try to suppress it, ignore it, seek to “get over it” IT’S there. Grief. A hard slap in the face.
Guilt that I wasn’t the wife/partner/friend/everything I could have/should have been. There are so many things I would have done differently. If I could turn back time…
Remorse for so many wasted moments.
Isolation…that feeling of being lost and alone.
Emptiness…that missing piece.
Fear of fleeting time. We can never get back yesterday. I’ve already lost too many.
“Time only moves in one direction These are the nights we won’t get back. Don’t wanna waste one single second. Don’t want the starts to fall so fast. ‘Cause someday we’ll be sayin’ how we wish we could turn back around. Time only moves in one direction. Come on, get closer, come, let me hold you now.” (Dan + Shay)
Year 1. Gratitude. For support. From friends. Family. Strangers. “I’ve made it through the worst of times. Death. Firsts. And now it’s time to say “thank you.” I would not have made it here without YOU. Family. Friends. Strangers. You helped me reach this road. You’ve been by my side on this journey. A journey that continues. A journey that looks toward the future instead of looking back in the past. I will always remember. I will hold the memories in my heart forever. You have supported me in ways I never dreamed possible. You have given me strength when I thought my world was falling apart.”
Year 2. Reality. You’re gone. “Two years. Is that even possible? It seems like the blink of an eye. And then it seems like an eternity. So much has changed. So much has stayed the same. The one constant. You aren’t here. And I miss you as much as the day you left this earth. My heart still aches. I keep going. I live. Parts of me are even happy at times. But I’m empty. My soul is empty. I just can’t fill that void. I don’t know that I ever will.”
Year 3. Acceptance. “It doesn’t get easier. Grief never ends. There’s no expiration date. It just gets different. Rebuilding. Redefining. This is my life. I will be ok. I may not like it. Certainly not my choice. But I’ll be ok. I’ll always love you. Always miss you. But. I know I can conquer life’s challenges with courage, strength and determination. One day at a time.”
Year 4. Growth. “With acceptance comes growth. Strength. Courage. And the will to keep living. Death taught me more about living than life ever did. Your death opened my eyes. It made “death” real. “
Year 5. IT’S BACK. “Grief returns. I thought it’d be different by now. Not quite so raw. But. It stings. Burns. Aches. The pain. Sadness. Tears. Far too pronounced. Grief is a journey to which there is no end. I’ve grown. Changed. I believe for better. But I’d give it all back for one day with you.”
Year 6. Back to Gratitude. Life is worth living. “Death taught me ‘that tomorrow is real, and yesterday is no longer here. It made me realize that living inside my comfort zone means that I don’t appreciate life as much as I should. It taught me to respect my sunrises and sunsets. To dance when music is playing. To laugh at least two times a day and to say I love you even when I am mad at someone. Because at the end of this, nothing else will matter.’ And we all learned that family is what matters. We are blessed. We have each other. Our family. A bond that will never break. Life doesn’t give us do overs. Today is here. I am here. I miss you. You are in my heart forever. I have moments of sadness. Loss. Loneliness. But. I can’t stop. I must breathe. Live.”
And now. Year 7. The journey continues. Rebuilding. Redefining. Seeking my normal. “Grief never ends. But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.” Grief. Unfinished love. Our story. And so it goes.
I have my story. My loss. My grief. Too often I leave it there. My kids lost their dad. Their best friend. The best Papa. Missing years of firsts, bests, accomplishments, growth, and so much more. He’s watching. He knows. And he’s proud. They share his legacy living a life based on kindness, generosity, compassion, and love. We all grieve today for his loss. But are forever grateful for his gifts.