Its Greg’s one year anniversary.
I’m not sure what it is I am supposed to feel today. I know I couldn't fall asleep last night. My head was filled with so many memories and thoughts, it crowded out my need for rest. I do not feel just one thing, and that is part of the trouble of grief. I miss Greg and so that dull ache remains, and is heightened when I want to talk politics, or history or I want to share a story of my kids with him. Some days, I want to call him and laugh about funny family stories and when I can’t, I am forced to lose him all over again in a new and awful way. So I’ve said goodbye to him in pieces, as each one presents itself for me to push off the shore this past year.
Other times I feel such relief and happiness. It all ended okay. And for almost five years I worried about that . Every. Single. Day. And I pestered God about it, until I finally lost all hope of him helping me. When I look back, my prayers must have sounded like the robotic, worried, mumbling of C-3PO. “Oh Dear Master Luke, what shall we do now! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!” But that was all I had given the time.
In hindsight, I see the hand of God, and most especially his mercy. It is the first thing I recall when anyone mentions Greg’s death, so profound an impact did it make. And I think of how God does things so perfectly and thoroughly that there can be no doubt of his gentle guiding hand.
Mostly this year I miss being able to go back. Back to those parts of me I left behind. The house I grew up in, Southampton summers, parts and pieces of an age of my life. I want to go back and climb the attic stairs, and sort through boxes until it unlocks something I can hold onto. I suppose I want to climb into the wardrobe until I find something that takes me someplace, or tells me who I am, or reminds me of how I got to here and now. But that’s gone, and I am left to find the answers within myself, travelling through my own memories and sorting them out as best I can. Like an old photo, the images need resolution, and I look at them harder hoping the intensity of my stare will reveal something more, or help clear the picture, but it doesn't. Not yet.
We have each other, my siblings and I. And remarkably, that is the gift that was left behind at Greg’s passing. To let go of him, we simply had to hold onto one another, and so we did- and we are. We are one in our grief today, knowing things about how we each lost him in our own distinctly personal way, and yet all together as a family too.
The total experience of his loss, is like a mighty bruise on us. And from the purplish hue of it, It looks to be with us for quite a while.