“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” – Louise Erdrich
I haven’t been writing too much of late because after a long time I’m trying to live life instead of documenting it. Writing has been extremely therapeutic to me on this journey. It has kept me company on numerous days and nights when all seemed lost.
For me things have become a lot easier than it was in those early days and months. I would never ever want to go back to that space again. At the time it was essential to lean into whatever emotions surfaced and just try to survive the darkness.
Over a period of time grief does ease out, it becomes more manageable though it never entirely goes away. Life in the afterloss has many shades. In many ways it’s a transition into a new life.
Much of the battles we fight are fought in silence. Unlike movies, there’s no moving background score, no quick leaps into the future and no dramatic change of scenery.
Instead, life moves painfully slowly sometimes. Weeks and months pass before you suddenly look back and realize how far you have come. Grief has a nasty way of ambushing you from time to time.
Memories and triggers creep up on you seemingly from nowhere but then you find that if you deal with them honestly, they go away and the landscape seems that much more clearer.
I have realized that sometimes you have to consciously let go of things, it helps to look forward in life when you feel you have made some kind of peace with the past.
None of these things happen in sequence or have a logical time frame. I guess it’s all about how you feel at a given point in time. I believe I have made a sincere effort to step out of my grief and move forward with life.
Moving forward doesn’t have to mean forgetting because that’s not possible. My past is very much part of the person I have become today. It’s also a source of strength because I know I’m a survivor, I have fought, I have taken the blows but I have tried to move forward step by step every day.
People say life goes on and it does go on but to go forward new meanings have to be found. When something significant ends, it seems like final but somehow you have to fight your way through so that new beginnings can be made again.
In Aug it will be two years since the cancer diagnosis and the world that I knew ended. It has been the most difficult years in my life. Through it all, I don’t know how I have survived and today I have reached a point where I’ve started living again bit by bit.
It’s taken me a long time, lot of pain and tears to reach this point. I still stumble and fall sometimes but I continue to move forward. I don’t want our lives to be defined by loss.
My love and my loss has chiseled me into someone who values life and relationships much more now than I ever did in the past. I have paid an unthinkable price for having this perspective but I was never given choices.
A grief journey doesn’t have to be only about grief. There are happy moments, there’s laughter and anticipation of new things and most importantly there’s hope for the future.
I’m trying my best to live my life with optimism one day at a time.