Grief is a difficult beast. You would think one would want it to disappear, you would think one would want to be able to move beyond grief, to get past it. But sometimes the even harder part is, the absence of grief can cause guilt. Sometimes, grief is welcome, because with it comes memories, feelings, and a reminder that that which you are grieving was very very real. And worth grieving.
I’ve been very anxious off and on the last couple of weeks. Initially I couldn’t put my finger on it, and maybe I’m still not 100% certain as there are plenty of reasons to feel stressed right now. But I’m starting to believe that it is because this time last year, I knew we didn’t have long left with Nolan. I knew he was declining, and was getting tired. This time last year, even more than over the course of the last 4+ years in general, the clock was ticking loudly, but we didn’t know how long the timer had left. This time last year, I was off of work, and I committed to going and doing, and creating a few special memories no matter what the summer held.
I am home with Landon today, for happy reasons. D is taking a well deserved long weekend, I’m enjoying a quiet day with Landon, and doing some spring cleaning at the house. I wanted to go through school papers from the last couple of years with the intent to reduce most of the stack down to a meaningful set of keepers. In that stack I found pictures drawn by our oldest son, of a family changing over time. First a family of 5, then of 6 with a new baby, then of 5 once again. I found a wish for a baby sister, before anyone else knew I was pregnant. I found blue and green artwork for Landon and Nolan, with stamps, feathers, and glitter. And not long after I had just looked at pictures from this time last year, when my family included 4 kids at a children’s museum, I found sweet cards from Landon and Nolan, including flowers made with pudgy little finger prints. I touched Nolan’s finger prints, and I cried.
And cried and cried.
I welcomed grief like a familiar friend who “gets it” like few others do. Then grief and I cried some more together.
Then humor stepped in, as it often does. And while I’m crying like a broken woman in my kitchen, I receive a message from someone on facebook that I amaze them. So I laughed at the juxtaposition of who I must seem to be vs who I often am, and wondered if Nolan was at least smirking a little too. I put those sweet fingerprints back in a safe place, I wiped my soaked face, and I said good-bye to grief until next time. But I thanked it for coming, because sometimes, remembering is healing, and hurting is healthy, and some tears are just meant to be cried out loud.