Grief is such an intangible and individual thing. You can’t predict your emotions, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t set a time table for the entire grieving process.
I’ve talked before about how hard it can be when you feel as though people “just don’t get it.” It can be incredibly isolating. You feel like you’re all alone, swimming aimlessly in a sea of raging grief. You look for a life raft any way that you can. A few comforting words. A seemingly-small-but-powerful gesture. A reassuring hug. Something. Anything. And just when you need it — at exactly the right time — those reinforcements come. Mine came in the form of some wise words from Yoko Ono on the death of her husband John Lennon. She writes…
I miss you, John. I still wish I could turn back the clock to the Summer of 1980. I remember everything — sharing our morning coffee, walking in the park together on a beautiful day and seeing your hand stretched to mine — holding it, reassuring me that I shouldn’t worry about anything because our life was good. I had no idea that life was about to teach me the toughest lesson of all. I learned the intense pain of losing a loved one suddenly, without warning, and without having the time for a final hug and the chance to say, “I love you,” for the last time. The pain and shock of that sudden loss is with me every moment of every day. When I touched John’s side of our bed on the night of December 8th, 1980, I realized that it was still warm. That moment has haunted me and will stay with me forever.
I couldn’t believe how much her words rang true for me. I sometimes think how great it would be to go back in time to the summer before he died — when we took our last normal trip as a family. We drove out to New York to my cousin’s wedding and then spent a couple days in New York City. It was our first time in the Big Apple, and I remember just being enamored and wide-eyed over EVERYTHING. My father and I stayed out until after midnight, walking all around Midtown Manhattan like a couple of nerdy tourists. I wish I had known then — really known — just how good our life was at that moment. I’m thankful for those memories, but just wish that those had been the first of many, not the one and only.
Do you have memories like those, friends? How have they made you feel, looking back on them now? What advice do you have for others struggling with a similar situation? xoxo