Matt, Im still feeling the aftershocks of your death. Four years later I still find myself on shaky, unstable ground. I flip from acceptance as if I have any choice, to a blatant denial that your addiction ended your life and my dreams for your future.
I still find myself beating back a rage that I thought had become a little softer. Oh how wrong I was. This rage grips my soul. Makes me want to lash out and scream until my lungs are void of air. I want to shake my fist toward the heavens and demand answers. I want God to show his face and help me to understand why my heart although shattered into jagged little pieces continues to beat.
Everything about grief is a blatant lie. I’ve read that if you just make it through all the firsts, life suddenly will take an upward swing. Like winning an unexpected lottery. Wow, the firsts I’ve found were the easiest to survive. My brain remained in shock. Shrouded by that protective impenetrable fog. Keeping my heart and soul tightly enclosed in a barrier that nothing could touch.
I walked around in a daze. Numb to what was happening around me. Denial became my constant companion. I could not even allow myself to think that your addiction won.
Slowly as the years continued, the fog started to lift. The barrier began to crumble and reality began to slap my face on a daily basis. The pain that was once living at a safe distance hit my heart like a well aimed arrow piercing what was left of my soul.
Society believes that time heals all wounds. The only thing time does for grief is give it a powerful grip over your soul. The passing years bring new triggers. I’m still shocked by the force of gut punches I feel when memories hit out of the blue. I still choke as I walk by a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips. I still face an internal battle as I walk down the deodorant aisle and see a stick of Axe sitting innocently on the store shelf. I battle touching the bottle. Lifting the lid and taking in your favorite scent. I hear your voice asking for me to look for the Phoenix scent if I was going shopping. I can’t explain this guttural reaction to a stranger as unexpected sobs fill the aisle as I remove the lid and allow myself a moment to remember. To smell a scent that is you.
After 4 years I’m still learning to navigate shaky ground. Land mines are everywhere. These passing years continue to be filled with aftershocks from the first days of my world imploding under my feet. Some days I can feel them coming. Birthdays, holidays and anniversary dates cause my body to react with physical pain. I am shaking and breathless knowing that even after “surviving” those firsts, its the years coming that will continue to bring me to the edge of my dark abyss. Threatening what little piece of sanity I’ve somehow managed to maintain.
I now understand that grief has no time limit. It has a mind of its own. It has no logic or compassion. It hurts like hell and no amount of passing time will ease the pain that has a death grip on my soul. It strikes without warning. It is the most powerful, misunderstood emotion known in this life. I also understand why society lies about grief. If we knew the truth we would choose not to exist.
As time passes I continue to wonder what you would look like. What you would be doing with your life. Questions that will never have answers continue to haunt my reality. Losing you was losing a big piece of me. Your future was also mine. A daughter in law, more babies to give my heart joy. Your death was not yours alone.
I’m learning that my grieving for you will never be completed. I will never get over it. There will be no closure. The aftershocks and reality slaps will continue to find me. Some expected, some out of the blue. My anger will ebb and flow. Rearing its ugly head at the injustice of how your life pages were ripped from the book that should have held so many more chapters…….