"Don't be mad if I cry. It just hurts so bad sometimes. 'Cause every day, it's sinking in, and I have to say good-bye all over again." - Lyrics from Matthew West "Save a Place for Me
This morning, as I was getting ready for the day, a very heavy and sad feeling washed over me. The reality that Austin is gone is sinking in a little more and there is a heaviness that accompanies it. Tears that had subsided, for a while, have returned, especially when I'm alone and driving.
The weeks following Austin's death I was unable to drive, especially when I was alone, without the tears flowing. The past few weeks I'd suddenly realize, as I got out of the car, that there'd been no tears and if I had thought about Austin while driving, it brought a smile. But that was before a few days ago, when the "driving" tears returned. The minute I'm in the car my mind goes to Austin, to how much I miss him. It's as if when I turn the key in the ignition it not only starts my car, but also the tears. I'm not sure why it's hitting me like this again, especially today, but if I was to venture a guess I would say, maybe it's...
... the change in season and knowing how much Austin loved fall.
... the festive spirit and fun parties that I know Austin would have been part of. I can see his mischievous smile and hear his relaxed laughter, as he chats it up with everyone.
... the fact that we've been making plans for Thanksgiving and have decided not to come back to NY that week-end. It will be strange to not be surrounded by family, which I always look forward to, especially at the holidays. I have always thought of the holidays as being a time to gather with your family. I can smell the the turkey baking and the warmth of whose ever home we are gathering in. I can hear the laughter and enjoy catching up on life with everyone. Something about the thought cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner for only four people does not bring on a festive feeling. I wonder what we'll do all day. Will Austin's absence be more noticeable? Will the day come and go and not really feel like Thanksgiving at all? They say the first holidays spent without the person we've lost is always very difficult. But I wonder if it will be even more so because the entire way we usually celebrate it will be different.
... because I have been focusing on others dealing with difficult situations and now have a lull, so my thoughts go back to missing Austin.
... because the struggles that are happening to others is reminding me of how short life really is.
I don't know the exact reason, but I do know that I'm tired of the heaviness. I'm tired of wishng this had all been a very, very bad dream and that it will end soon. I know it's isn't a dream and that reality is what hurts so much. I know that the sadness will not end soon, and that in order to truly heal this is what I must endure.
In a way, I am thankful, that this is a gradual process. As I think back over the past four months of the sadness I have felt, I can't fathom how it would have been if all the reality that has been slowly sinking in, and all the feelings that came with it, had arrived all at once. I think I would have felt as though an enormous boulder had been dropped on me and I couldn't move. So, in a way, I guess it is good that grieving is a process and not a one-time event. The pain, otherwise, would be unbearable.
"When someone you love dies you don't lose them all at once. You lose them in pieces, over time." -From the movie "Simon Birch"
"I don't believe our minds would be capable of absorbing this loss all at once, and so we part with our loved ones a little bit at a time. After we have gone through this painful period of separating, our relationship with the departed one can become whole again. We come to a point when we realize that we have only lost the physical presence of the beloved. We know beyond a doubt that the bond of the loved that is shared will never be lost." - Ann Dawson A Season of Grief
There are days when I want to yell, "Stop this roller-coaster, I want to get off. I'm tired of this ride. Let me get on a different one." But I know I have no choice. This is the ride that I am on, like it or not. And so, if I have to be on this ride, I'm thankful that it's not always bumpy, that sometimes it smooths out and gives me a chance to catch my breath and regroup. It is by experiencing the full ride, with both ups and downs, that I will eventually arrive at a place where I will have a greater peace, even while still missing Austin (because I know that I will always miss him, even if the feelings are different).
"We are healed of a suffering only be experiencing it to the full." -Marcel Proust