Today is one of the toughest days my husband and I face all year; the anniversary of our son’s death. It is a day that lingers in our memories with haunting clarity. A day filled with more sorrow and pain either one of us could have imagined before.
Time eases heartache, though not in linear fashion. You feel better for a time, and then worse. The guilt that strikes the first time you laugh again is heavier than lead.
Healing is chaotic, piecemeal. And as we progress, we begin to realize the concept of “wholeness” is not about returning to the beings we once were, because that’s not possible. Like Frankenstein’s monster, we’re stitched together; some parts of us are original, but other parts feel as though they belong to someone else. Part of healing is looking at this scar-and-patchwork golem, and seeing someone beautiful. It’s about redefining ourselves, and nurturing those now-tender parts of our souls.
I’ve mentioned before how fortunate I am, for I’ve healed a lot, especially given my descent into alcoholism. Numbing the grief with booze didn’t just delay the pain; it amplified it, for it wasn’t just me the drinking made miserable. By trying to avoid my pain, I made it worse for both of us.
And now, I feel I’ve reached a certain peace, a sorrow that’s no longer all-consuming, but just sits in my body like age or arthritis. But I don’t see that peace reflected in my husband. At the cemetery, I see the rawness, and the swell of tears, and my heart breaks anew for him. There are no words I can offer, though I wish with every fiber of my being I could take his pain away. All I can do is hold him. All I can give him is my presence, so he doesn’t have to face his pain alone.