Death is a jerk. It takes away our loved ones and with each loss away floats a little bit of ourselves. Sure, we work to fill in the holes with memories and new pieces of who we must become. But no matter how beautifully we put our shattered pieces back together, the cracks and chips forever remain.
My hope is that, similar to when bones break and grow back together, the healing process will make us even stronger.
And perhaps, the little reminders – the little sucker punches that completely blindside us – are life’s way of checking on the healing process. A doctor will order an X-ray to see how the bone is healing. Similarly, life throws us into situations to gauge our responses.
Just the other day I had a little “check up” from the universe. Evidently I needed to be reminded that I am still not doing very well. That I am trying to put pieces back into places where they do not belong.
I had received two emails containing some news that I found exciting. Well, immediately I wanted to share this with my husband. He was the one person I could always count on to listen to me, even if what I was excited about didn’t really interest him. And then, in the split second it took for me to remember that he was no longer here, I had the wind completely knocked out of my sails.
And because I couldn’t share my news with him, I turned to self-deprecation instead. This is what trauma does, in case you were wondering. Within thirty seconds of reading the emails, I was telling myself that the news wasn’t really that big of a deal. I was telling myself that I am not special – this happens to hundreds of people every day. I even told myself that nobody else will care so there is no point in telling them.
Death and trauma took my moment of joy. They took my moment of pride in myself and they smashed it into the ground. They stomped on it, made sure that even if I decided to pick it up again, it would never be the same. Death and trauma made certain that this moment would forever be marred by their existence.
This is my life now. A constant battle with these uninvited guests residing in my head.
With each day that passes, I am faced with a similar scenario. A random moment from our life popping up in my mind, coming across something he would have liked, seeing his picture on the home screen of my phone – all of these things involve a momentary lapse in my memory. For a brief moment in time, he is still alive. He is still here being my personal cheerleader. And then reality sinks in. And any happiness that I felt is ripped away. I am reduced to tears and anger. I am left with an endless amount of “you aren’t good enough”s and “nobody cares about that”s.
After loss, there is grief. Within grief there is the good, there is the bad…and then there is the downright ugly.
Everyone’s experience is different, but in the end the components are all the same.
There will be moments of rest. There will be moments of action. There will be times of happiness. There will be times of self-destruction.
It’s what we do with these things during our period of transformation that will influence who we become.
It’s whether or not we allow death, grief and trauma to take up permanent residence within our brain.
It’s not an easy path to navigate. We need to find our people, the ones who can help us read the map.
And when we are ready, it’s about taking that first step forward. It’s about looking death and trauma directly in the eyes and telling them how strong you are, how powerful the universe has helped you become.
It’s about acknowledging that they might have won a few battles, but you plan to win the war.
It’s about showing the world that you will never accept defeat.
**”Never accept defeat” was a motto that my husband lived by. It is what motivates me to fight through every day. And one day, I hope to make it a permanent part of me. I am a warrior and I will never accept defeat.**