It’s April again. Every year the beautiful spring awakens and April arrives filling my head with thoughts of loss and renewal. April is my month. The month that my life stopped seven years ago creeps up on me and penetrates my soul. No matter what is going on, no matter how I feel, no matter how much better things are…it seeps in bringing unexpected (well, maybe expected) waves of sadness and overwhelming loss. I haven’t quite mastered the thought that my life is so different than it was that April when he died. That April when I watched with my heart and soul as he withered, bravely and gracefully. The April that he left for good has left every April since then marked by his death.
Now, add the double powie of Easter. As a former church person, the years I spent as a youth minister left Easter cemented in my soul. It is a time of death. It is a time of new life and a time for renewal. It is a time when I reflected on how I would be different from year to year never expecting the changes that would be thrust upon me. I never anticipated sitting here staring at the death of my husband, my new life, my transformation into a life unexpected.
Here’s the thing…I really bought into the mystery. I have been invested in process. It was a place where I was able to go and come out fresh and new. It used to work and I used to really feel good about evolving and changing from year to year. I could identify with the days of Triduum…holy days in my church…I could follow the story and apply it to my life. Even now, I can buy into the love that it took to change. It is only with great love and patience with myself that I was ever able to change.
Too many feelings, too many memories, just too damn much this time of year.
Fleeting moments of before, fleeting moments of during, fleeting moments of since…all too much. When I remember sitting on my bed, nursing my baby, watching my husband die…too much. Listening as his breathing changed and then stopped…just too much. When I think of standing next to the hole in the ground where he would be…it’s too much. All these years, all the tears, anger, the triumphs, the baby steps toward a new life…in April, they all come crashing down on me and I don’t know where to put them or how to handle them. I guess the important part is that I recognize them…I let the tears come. I let the anger surge and fade. I let the disbelief come and go. I look back and then turn forward again. It is really all a mystery to me.
How it all happened…mystery. How I survived…mystery. How I will keep moving forward…mystery.
So today, I’ll cry. Today my heart will ache and loneliness will remind me of all that I have lost. This April, I will also remind myself that in seven years there has been healing, growth and hope. I will be gentle with myself, my kiddos, and hope my heart can continue to heal and I will not let the sadness win. I will continue to embrace the mystery of life and death. I will continue to live in the mystery of why…and disbelief will melt away into my survival of another April, another year, another wave of grief. It will. I’m not sure how, but it will.