The past few weeks, I have felt a heaviness like something is not quite right in the world. I didn’t think much of it. A lot is going on in my world, and I usually attribute my heaviness to life in general! However, deep down, I know what the heaviness is about… my anniversary.
I remember the first few years after Keith died, reliving the “death walk”. I define the death walk as the time from his diagnosis to death and all the events that occurred during those 6 weeks. The first few years, the death walk was about living all the details – remembering each and every day and what we did and how it unfolded. As years passed, it evolved into remembering without all the specific details. As more years passed, it became more of an acknowledgement that those six weeks really, really sucked! And eventually, I began to forget that I was even on the death walk. I would have flashes every once in a while, but certainly, not reliving each moment. I have always said that time doesn’t heal, it gives us a different perspective, and my need to remember minute details became less and less necessary.
Grief fascinates me. I learn something new each and every day about grief. I am always astonished at what it teaches me, how it challenges me and how I grow from it. And this anniversary is another one of those amazing teaching moments.
I have learned the grief theories created by professionals and now I teach them. I help widows and widowers develop their own coping strategies; I help them see their grief differently than they do. Seeing someone’s journey from the outside is very different than living it, and sometimes I can show them things they can’t see within themselves.
But some days – days like this – I am brutally reminded that theory and education all fly out the window when you are in the mess of grieving.
So today and the days leading up, I have had to put all my theory and education, and knowledge aside and just grieve. Just be present in my emotions and thoughts and let them come and roll over me as they need to. My logical brain knows what is going on and can analyze and recognize that it is all just good grief. I can see that I will be ok and that this is just part of the process. But the past few weeks, my emotional brain has swallowed the logical side and told it to shut up! My emotional brain has brought on the heaviness, and the emotions and no reasoning are going to let my emotional brain release my logical brain and let the theories prevail.
So tonight and tomorrow, as I remember the death walk and the moments that dramatically changed my life forever, I will just be and let the emotions come… logic can resurface another day.