The day is bright. The sun is shining. Blue sky and snow-capped mountains. Birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. I breathe in the beautiful day. Excitement for the coming spring fills my senses. The future seems bearable. Almost agreeable.
In one minute, that all can change.
One run-in with a rebellious daughter. One issue arising with the maintenance of the house. One scene in a movie. Tears, depression and bitterness can find their way to the surface in a minute flat and I wonder how in the world I ever felt at peace.
Guilt makes you a yo-yo.
The constant vacillation can give you whiplash and a queasy stomach. I watch videos of people bungee jumping and see the fall, the bounce up, the fall and bounce up. I see the pendulum on a grandfather clock, changing its direction with each second ticking by. I see my cat pounce the doorstop spring and see it boing back and forth with the swat of her paw. And these all remind me of the yo-yo effect grief brings. They are a picture of how I feel.
One day I can look at the future. Plans and goals can sprout a touch of excitement for what may yet be born in my life. A glimmer of hope that I will once again feel at home in my own life. And another day, the future seems like an endless trail of discontentment, void and aimlessness because the complexity of loss never stops casting its shadow on the potential.
One minute I can feel strong enough to fight this battle, to tackle the responsibilities of life on my own. I can look at the house and two acre property and taxes and parenting and debts and the superwoman inside rises up, determined to conquer it all. Another minute, I want to crumple in a heap on the floor and ignore it all. Crawl in a hole and hide. The chaos, decisions, workload seems a never ending weight to bear alone.
One minute, our life, his life, can feel so distant it doesn’t seem real and I feel so far away from the love I know I shared with him. A mist of a dream. Another minute, his memory is so palpable it makes my heart ache in my missing of him.
One minute I am proud of how far I have come, how well I have adjusted. I can see the phoenix rising from the ashes. Another minute I can feel like an utter failure, bothered that he would be disappointed for how I have sunk at moments of depression, questioning my faith, apathy toward parenting, ministry and life itself.
One day I can be at peace. Accepting. Knowing I can’t change it or undo it. It is what it is. Might as well embrace what life holds for the future. Another day, a raging storm blows into my heart and I am mad for what I lost, what our children lost, how complicated and cruel life is, and how unforgiving a tyrant grief is.
One day I can be content in my singleness. I can see its benefits. My life is my own, no one to fight with or cater to. Another day my loneliness has me wound so tight I think I may burst.
One minute I can feel positive about the prospect of finding a new love. I can believe there is potential out there somewhere. Another minute, it hits me with the weight of a ton of bricks that no one will be him. No one will have my history with him. No one will understand me just the way he did. And for that moment that thought fills me with such hopeless depression and the thought of finding a new love feels like an uncrossable chasm.
One day I can keep myself preoccupied with the present. Be busy and not dwell on what I lost. Another day, that progress pulls me at the ankle and yanks me back. I see how far I have traveled without him and I feel remorse for not dwelling more in his memory, a sense of betrayal spreading through me.
One day I can feel reconciled to God’s plan, whatever it may be. Another day I feel completely indifferent to it.
They say grief comes in waves. What I expected was waves of sadness. Of missing. But they aren’t that simple. Instead of clear and definable, they are murky and mixed, sometimes hard to even recognize and define the perpetrator. I have found the waves come in so many shapes and sizes and colors. The waves are a push and pull of future and past, a push and pull of peace and bitterness, a push and pull of strength and frailty. This ebb and flow make you question your sanity and progress, like life will forever more be a rollercoaster ride of unexpected, uncontrollable, and undefinable emotions.
And maybe it will be. We just take some Dramamine and hold on tight.