I flew back from Orlando on Sunday, July 22, my would-be twelfth wedding anniversary. It was a long day of travel and solitude (in a sea of other travelers), and I had the time and space to lean into my sadness.
That’s a really good, important, beautiful, cleansing thing to do sometimes. It’s like pressing the reset button or the release valve. It’s a privilege to hurt that deeply.
At some time during my second flight, somewhere between Nashville and Denver, I discovered something truly remarkable, unbelievable.
I have finished grieving.
I didn’t think it was possible; I’m still not entirely sure what it means, and I’m more than a little hesitant to say it out loud.
It doesn’t mean
I don’t love him,
I didn’t love him,
I won’t have sad days,
I will snap like a rubberband to the familiar shape of the extroverted party girl I was two years ago,
Or that I’m committing any kind of dishonoring betrayal.
I did the hard work.
I grieved him well.
I wasn’t born to be sad forever.
I can raise my glass to honor the girl he chose to marry,
one who is strong and courageous.
What timing to find this discovery – on the day when I annually recall when and where I was on the day I married him. As I traveled home, the day was decidedly divided. I cried and cried and cried, and then I didn’t.
I listened to my iPod, and I discovered that the song lyrics were no longer breaking my heart. Rather, my thoughts leaned toward hope of what might be,
what might become, the joy that might wait for me.
Even, perhaps, a person that might wait for me.
I never thought this could happen.
Never thought it would.
Didn’t even know the words could fit together.
But they are true.
I have finished grieving.
It is the end of an era. There are things to gain and things to lose as the era ends, but no season is forever. And this one wasn’t either.
As Verdell Harris wrote, “Let me grieve, but not forever.”
Today I am 33. Happy Birthday, Tricia.
* * *
“You will never stop loving . . . You will never forget. . . You will always know . . . But [he] will always be dead. Nobody can intervene and make that right and nobody will. Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words. Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal. . . . The place of true healing is a fierce place. It’s a giant place. It’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light. And you have to work really, really, really hard to get there, but you can do it. You’re a woman who can travel that far.”
~ c. strayed, tiny beautiful things