Friday, June 12, 2015

Healing Stitches: How Time Heals Grief

When I think about last year, what comes to mind is how there was a hole in my heart. Not a physical hole, although it felt like it was real. I experienced the pain of heartache and loss like I'd never experienced before. My chest would physically ache, and I would feel like I couldn't breathe. I would continue to feel like there was an elephant on my chest for days, and nothing would take it away. For the first time in my life, I couldn't cry when I needed to cry, and those that know me know that I'm a pretty phenomenal crier. I would get awful stomach aches when the chest pain wouldn't leave, and then, finally, after several days, I would cry. I felt dead inside. I felt like the hole would never close.

It's amazing what the passing of time can do for a person. Little by little things continue to sew up parts of the hole.

Last year after my mom's death, my husband and I worked out a plan for me to take a couple months off during the Summer. I spent the Summer blogging, gardening, riding my bike, and just taking time to let my emotions be what they were... if they were. We were on a tight budget, but it made all the difference in the world allowing me to just take my time healing.

**Stitch. Stitch. Stitch**

My husband continually makes me laugh to tears, and sometimes on the worst days. I have spent many a moment in the past year laughing until my abs hurt.

**Stitch. Stitch.**

Recently one of my brothers stayed overnight at our house. This particular brother has spent quite a bit of time apart from the rest of our family. Things were really crazy last year when my mom died, and it felt like my siblings and I all retired to our separate corners to lick our wounds. It felt like we all kind of did our own thing, and even though I missed them all, it seemed hard to connect with people that reminded me of what I lost.

So, he came over recently and spent the evening with my husband and me. We talked about deep things relating to life changes he's making, struggles he is going through, ate some homemade burritos, and then had a Dr. Mario battle on our Nintendo. The next morning on Facebook he wrote a post about how we did a great thing in helping him have his first peaceful night in months. Well, it was a pleasure, brother.

**Stitch. Stitch. Stitch. Stitch. Stitch.**

A bunch of my family got together last weekend after one of my brothers graduated from dental school. He's the first person in our family to get a doctorate. His wife and kids were so proud of him, and all of us were, too. Sharing his special day with him gave me renewed pride in my family (although it never disappeared).

**Stitch. Stitch.**

The year anniversary of my mom's death passed and quite quickly life took an upswing.

**Stitch. Stitch.** 

This giant, raw, gaping hole in my chest continues to close. The good parts of life, and time, stitch it shut slowly. It's still there, but less obvious. Some days I don't even feel it anymore. Most days I still think of her, but it's a lot less. I still get a shock to my brain whenever I try to comprehend that she's really dead. I get it, but I still think of it sometimes and it's so hard to wrap my brain around how we can be here and so full of life, and suddenly so sick that the disease takes your life. It's so crazy how life goes on, the world turns, and the ones we lost disappear farther from our lives.

When I think of all the things I've had to accept in life, her death is the one that never makes sense no matter how much time has passed. I think I've come to the realization I may never really be able to comprehend she's totally gone, and I'll just have to accept her absence instead. For those that haven't experienced a death so important in their lives, you may not understand what I just said, but I know the rest of us will completely get it.

For now, I'll continue to accept the little things like how I've suddenly become invigorated by gardening and how the plants remind me of her garden. I'll accept that sometimes when I hear an amazing song on the radio, or sing along to something, I can tell she's there. She always loved great music, and was a singer. Or I'll continue to accept that she left us because now I have things of hers that I only would have if she were really gone.

I'm just thankful for all the memories I have of life with her, and for the blessing of time slowly healing wounds that felt like they'd never begin to heal.

I'm also thankful for this song, because when I first heard it this week, I had to play it over and over again. The end, when the music kicks up into high gear made me feel a rush of joy. A feeling that made me think to myself, "I'm ok mom. I'm really going to be ok."

And then I pictured her giant, toothy, grin smiling at me.

++ Happy birthday, Mom. It would've been your 60th today. I love you.

Join the conversation!

  1. Joy, I just came across your blog and read this post first, and just everything in your writing flows love. Even though you are in the midst of such heartache and healing, your story is making an impact. Thank you for being YOU. Your story matters. And we over come, by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimonies. -Revelations-

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I loved everything you said and it made my day.


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