“you win grief, you win” those exact words came out of my mouth recently and were the defining moment in my journey. It has taken me three years to understand that. To recognize that grief is not a phase, nor an obstacle that can be overcome. No. Grief is a life force. It always wins. If it was an olympic sport and I was racing against grief it would win the gold every single time. No matter how hard I train. No matter how hard I work to beat it. Grief will always win. It’s that simple. You see I used to want to overcome grief. I yearned for a life without it trying everything I could in those dark moments to perfect the smile that covered my sadness. But the truth about that is that your not doing yourself any good by suppressing grief. Today I have accepted my grief. Today I am not afraid to show my sadness in those rough times. Today I am not afraid to reach out and ask for a hug. I am eased by the notion that it is here to stay. forever. Grief is my cross I will carry through the rest of my life just like mum carried her cross with cancer. My grief keeps HER with me in my everyday life. Those unexpected moments of raw emotion steal my heart like a thief time and time again. SHE feels closer than ever when those tears stream down my face. Perhaps that is the greatest gift that grief gives us- the memory of a strong love. I don’t think there will ever come the day where my grief is put away. That void will always remain in my heart and it shouldn’t go away.
I say often in my head “I accept you grief, I take you for all that you are. I will learn to love you.’”
Sigh. Deep breath.
The reality of her loss did not hit me that first year. While I struggled to find reason and clarity and poured my heart and soul into creating beauty in her name,she was hovering over my days like familiar air. I could still breathe her in. Inhale all that she was. I learned to form a new relationship with mum- one based on honor and sharing her to all and everyone I knew and met. On a good day, the grief stood quietly beside me while I photographed, shared, wrote and thought of a thousand different ways to bring her back- and on bad and worst days, the grief stole my heart like a thief and I struggled for air.
When mum was by my side, her presence was not just a physicality but a constant series of events. It was the events in our day to day life, the interaction that defined her significance and our relationship. She was not just present, but a presence. When she left my side, the void was and forever will be immeasurable. She was here one day, and gone one night. No more laughing together, no long car rides, no talking, no sharing of secrets, no more hugs, no more i love you’s, no more i’m sorrys. Just no her, no more.
Losing mum was definitive and yet, I never truly imagined the day that her presence would become a photograph that sits on our mantle. If there is one thing that cancer taught me those 8 years was to stay in the present moment. Of course my mind would wander to the future every so once in awhile and i never could identify with what was in the cards for our future. A life without mum seemed utterly impossible- I didn’t want that future so I stayed in the present. The present with HER.
and now three years on- She is nowhere and everywhere all at the same time.
I know for certain she is orchestrating my life. She has created a new normal with such beautiful people in my life. THEY are earth angels to me. THEY keep me going. THEY keep me so very happy. THEY are the best part about me.
Today I am simply grateful that life has gone on. That life kept going when my world had stopped. I am grateful that I continue to adjust ever so slowly and still work hard every single day at creating happiness in this new world..to carry on seemed so impossible back then…but I did, I surived the first year, second year and third year so far with so much gratitude to those who’ve supported me and continue to. There were so many days in those early months that brought me to my knees, literally, but it is incredible just how much we really can withstand..way beyond what is believed possible.
so today, and hopefully tomorrow I proudly say “I accept you grief and I do love you”
Thank you dear mummy. so very much.