In the past couple months I've cried harder, loved harder, laughed harder and thought harder than I ever have in my life. I admit...I'm not completely stable. And I hate seeing myself so fragile and needy. It just isn't me.
I'm strong dammit.
It's a carnival of emotions and I'm jumping from ride to ride. I'm up and down. I'm going around and around. I feel like the freak show and everyone is willing to give up their quarters to see me.
But I was blessed with the realization today that all of that is okay.
My sister called. I admit, I don't like taking advice from her, or anyone else in my family. I'm the strong one, I follow my own path, and I've always figured they just need to let me find my own way. But like I said, today she called, and at the tail end of our conversation she reminded me that she used to work for Hospice.
"Your last blog post just reminded me that you are on the path you are supposed to be on. You were going through denial...and that is ok. The stages of grief are set in stone. No one can escape them...not even someone as capable as you."
Tonight I looked up those stages.
All the rides I've been jumping on and off of the past couple months. I began to feel uncomfortable...psychotic even. Shouldn't each stage be taken in large chunks of time? One at a time? What the hell am I doing?
And then I read this: "People often think of the stages lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one."
I'm not a freak show after all.
When I'm down...it doesn't last for days, and most of the time it doesn't even last for hours. I got a lot of worried messages from friends after my last blog post. Truth is, I wrote that in quiet moment when I was alone and it was pouring rain outside. The Christmas tree sat mocking me in the other room, and I was looking at the seat on the couch where Ryan always sat. A moment. A stage. And then I picked up the boys and I felt better again.
Despite all of the rides that I am negotiating, I have the deepest feeling that everything will eventually be okay. Like really Okay. It is a surreal feeling, but one that resonates so deeply inside me I can't turn my back on it.
Sure...I get sad. But I still get out of bed, and I find joy in the little things.
Sure...I have my moments of denial. But the light in my boys eyes is enough reality to bring me back to where I need to be.
Sure...I get angry. But it is always short lived, because I know that my needs are known and that Ryan is Okay and happy where he is.
Sure...I try to bargain it all away. The if onlys and what could I have done differently eat at me some days. But looking back I know I can't change what has happened. I see how God took care of us along the way and I can't deny that things happened the way that they needed to.
Sure...I get depressed. But it is what it is. I'm not always that way. Luckily I have friends and family that love me. It doesn't take much to make me appreciate what I have.
I think the biggest indicator that tells me I'm going to be okay is that I have hope. I believe in a happy future for my family.
I believe that I will get to that last stage: Acceptance.
Which doesn't mean I'll be okay that Ryan is gone. It means I'll be okay with my new reality, and find a way to make it our normal.
Pfft. Whatever that is.
All I know is I'm not a freak, (how many times have I written that already,) and tonight that brings me all kinds of relief.
Driving in the country this evening I was able to clear my head. I'm going to try to accept this stages-of-grief-Pong-game I'm playing. I'm going to accept that I'm a bit of a mess and not be upset with myself about it. I've always been the one that has her stuff together. Maybe it's ok to be the one that needs a little TLC. Maybe it's okay to let others see that I'm hurting. Maybe I need to have a little sympathy for myself.
I'll accept the chaotic carnival of emotions knowing that one day I'll come out on the other side, stronger? Or at this rate even freaking She-Ra-esque?
I'm going to be okay. We are all going to be okay. I know it.
And really, isn't that half the battle already won? I know the end of the story.
A friend sent me a message saying there is only one way through grief...through it.
If that's true, let's do this thing.
Eventually my pockets will run out of the carnival tickets and I'll have to find my home.
My new home.
It's out there somewhere. Which statement, if I remember right, signifies hope.