Recently, my husbands grief has surfaced. It was always there, lying in wait, like a stealth lioness waiting to pounce. He is the strong one. The one who peeled me off the floor and held me when I was sobbing to the point of vomiting. The one who would talk to the kids about processing the grief. The one who would allow. Allow me to talk about Phil anytime I wanted and I knew he hurt to the core for the sadness would show in his eyes. The crows feet became deeper and the headaches became more frequent. Yet, he comforted me. The one who comforted the kids and spoke softly to them about life. Who guided and watched for signs of depression in others. The overseer. The caretaker. The strong one.
There is no timeline for grief. There is no way out of grief. It can creep up on you…and if you do not acknowledge its presence, it will steal into your dreams and make itself known. It will not be yielded. If you ignore it, it comes from the inside out. It will escape. It will win.
The Longest Journey
On September 1, 2015, it was three years since the Phil we knew and loved left this planet. The journey is long. Exhausting. It is like driving on the longest trip ever….on a winding dirt road with no protection. Perhaps on a motorcycle or a covered wagon. A dirt road that has not been maintained with very few service stations. Just enough to give you fuel to get to the next one. Not a convenance store. For grief is inconvenient. It comes when you least expect it. You are riding along and all of a sudden there is a huge rutt in the road that jolts you to the core. Bumps and sharp turns to make you car sick and signs everywhere. Only unlike most road signs meant to make the journey easier, these signs tend to make the journey more drawn out and difficult. Signs of familiar places and things. The restaurants we used to go to. The tee-shirt you used to wear. The band logo. The songs. The photos. The route I took to your friends house. The look-a-likes. The signs. So many signs that come in all shapes and sizes. They seem to be in neon with flashing lights around them. Yet others go by unaware that there was even a sign. On autopilot zipping down the road. HOW CAN THEY NOT KNOW THE WORLD IS JACKED UP? It will never be the same? Where is the sign letting everyone else know?
My husbands grief has settled in his bones. He walks a bit slower. He is not as motivated to get things done. The lines on his face are etched deeper. The loss is now part of him. He says things like, “it doesn’t really matter.” He waits for “it” to all be over. He is patient. He won’t say this more than once for he knows it is not allowed. He did say it once though, so I know. He just doesn’t really want to do it anymore. And yet, he will. There is no other option for him. He is the caretaker. The strong one. He will bear his burden. He will support others. He will carry on the good fight. One day rest will come for him. Until then he is a warrior. The strong one. I am thankful.