While my life continues to evolve and I settle in to what I now know as my new normal I will be honest, the aftermath can be far more challenging a state to arrive to then any one of the grieving stages I have encountered. Unlike grief – the aftermath is the culmination of the trauma suffered.
I realized this morning as I calculated my losses in life – I realized how incredibly strong I really am. I have not honored that in the past few years while those whom I love have literally slipped away from my life. A Mother who was a friend, a confidante – a place that I could always go home to and share the burdens of my heart I would find comfort and assurance. A husband – my beloved husband who loved me unconditionally, who was my very best friend in all of the world – he saved me from the shadows of my own life. No one will ever be to me what he was. A cousin – my first childhood friend, she and I would dream – dream big. She and I would always find our way to each other when life seemed to beat up us and there was no one else in sight. In less then 2 years I would loose all three.
Perhaps we don’t talk about the aftermath – maybe because there are no words to explain that place that exists long after the five neat little stages have been completed, after you have begun to move forward in life – maybe it’s enough that we’ve survived as we search to find our own unique way to live in what has become our existence. Understanding that we have indeed lived through the unimaginable – the tragedies that have re-shaped our lives and changed the very essence of who we are.
I no longer engage like I use – maybe I don’t have the capacity to do so. Maybe for the lack of want. Maybe because loss has taught me the value of what is truly important to me and what is not. I don’t pursue relationships that don’t pursue me. I shy away from confrontational situations – I use to love a good debate. I no longer offer an opinion – even when asked. When I know something is not good for me – I have no problem walking away – without explanation. And I never allow myself to be present when I feel like I should apologize for simply who I am today – someone irreversibly changed by loss.
I don’t identify myself by the death of my husband in the same way I remain broken hearted – not broken. My reality is certainly that my life has been marked by death and there is no shame in the sadness that can still interrupt my days. But in choosing life I have discovered that I must also honor my loss in my remembrance of David – in my memory of all those lost to me in this lifetime. I know that I will see them again one day and while I find comfort in that knowledge I know that God’s plan for my life is greater still.
For me, the aftermath is where we rebuild – where we find our best resources [but as in all things in this journey] that takes time and patience – fortitude and perseverance.
Quite often we arrive in the aftermath of loss a little weary and a lot shaken. Indecisiveness is a key combatant in the struggle to find sure footing. Lets be honest nobody willingly stepped into any arena wanting to be knocked down repeatedly but the battle is worth it.
So for now I’m learning to dust myself off and set aside each disappointment determined to rebuild.
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
― Theodore Roosevelt