Saturday, June 01, 2013
Perhaps I'm beginning to get the hang of this grief thing now.
We talk a lot about 'loss' when someone dies. "I'm sorry for your loss" is the culturally acceptable phrase. And, indeed, when Matt first died, all I could feel was the vacuum, the hole, the absence of the gift that he was in my life.
Well I still miss him. Every day. I think about him, and the things he'd do, the way he'd greet me, the way he'd respond to something or make me think differently because he was there. He made each day better.
But it's not so much about loss any more.
Loss would've been not to have him in the first place. Loss would've been to sit tight when Charlie died and not to go and find him. Loss would've been ten years without his company, his friendship, his love. That would have been loss.
I thank God for every day I had with Matt. And for every memory I have of him. And for every smile that crosses my face as I think of him now.
Yes, there are days it still hurts, one year on. And yet I'm working past the initial shock and pain and beginning to understand that these right and proper and raw emotions can hide deeper things from us if we stay with them too long and don't work our way through. Because why would I think of Matt and be sad? What part of our time together does that represent? Why does the last day get to be so important? We had over three and a half thousand days together; why let just one completely rule my heart, my mind, my remembering, my feelings?
Or if one day must be so important, I should pick a different one. A Christmas Day, opening gifts together, eating too much together, walking in the snow together. A summer's day, watching him running in the forestry, seeing him seek out a brook in which to paddle. A holiday by the beach, where Matt loved to play, even if he never ever dared swim in the sea. A journey in the car, where he would lie content at my side, his head on my hand, just occasionally complaining as I would sing along with songs on the radio. Or any old day, when I would come back from doing whatever it is I do, and he would leap and bark and be delighted I was home.
I thank God because now in my heart all of these days are gaining in weight, and that final day is receding a little. It's not so much about loss.
It's taken a year. But (at last) it's becoming about love and about the joy of ten years. So I do still shed the occasional tear, but don't think these tears come from sorrow - they are far more complex than that. There's a lot of life that wells up inside as I think of Matt, and sometimes it can't help but trickle out.
With great gratitude.