Three Years and Counting

I am not sure how to start this post.  I have sat down many times in the last few weeks, wanting to share something helpful, profound, insightful.  But each time the fear of reality stopped me dead in my tracks.  Some might think what a crazy notion.  Do not misunderstand,  I live my reality every day.  I know it very intimately.  The fact that on July 11th it will be three years since Tony died, scares me.  I do not understand how I have survived.  I do not understand how life did not stop.  I am living a parent’s worst nightmare.  I do not want to wake up one day and say Tony has been dead 20 years.  That does not seem possible. The choice is simple, we must go on.  We must continue to figure out our new life.  Not an easy task and one that can change daily!  After all, we will never stop grieving, we will just learn how to incorporate it into out lives better.

Every night when I go to bed, I speak to Tony, tell him about my day and begin a list of reason to be thankful.  There is always something to be thankful for-food on the table, a roof over our head, freedom, health, a visit from friends and family, a smile from a stranger, the sun, the rain, a memory that brings a smile,  if we search there is almost always something.  You may have to find it through tears or clouds, or it may even elude you some days, thats okay!  I have been there too and am sure it is a place I will struggle with!  For now, I want to try to live my life gratefully.  I do not want what happened to Tony to make me bitter, I want what happened to Tony to  make me a better person.  Someone who can be more patient, more understanding, more compassionate. I want to be an example to Tony’s brothers that their mother, although she has one third of her heart missing, can still love, laugh, learn, grow and do good along the way.  It is not going to be easy, but I am going to put one foot in front of the other and continue on the best I can!

This is a very difficult path.  Often, I feel as if I am in on one of those carnival houses where the floors in each room are constantly shifting and you are losing your balance.  You need to keep moving so not to stumble.  From time to time you may fall or find your way out of one room only to have the next one be worse. You can always get up and find your way to a safe room with stable ground.  It just may take longer sometimes, or you may stumble more often during difficult periods but many times you will look to see someone holding out a hand to help you up and guide you along.  There will be times when I am stumbling and there will be times when I am holding out a hand.  As I move forward,  I hope to be holding out a hand more often than stumbling!

So, when floor starts shaking, widen your stance and hold on, because as you stumble along your journey, it will change and the path will become a bit more stable and ALWAYS look for a hand to help you, sometimes they can come in the most unexpected forms.  This is your grief, your journey, walk it the best you can at the given moment.  One moment at a time, ever changing, always hopeful!

A friend asked me what she could do to help me during this difficult week.  Tough question.  The most important thing you could do for someone grieving is to listen and understand.  When phone calls go unreturned, when emails go unanswered or all you may hear about is their child, just be patient, listen, don’t judge and don’t take it personally.  Eventually the phone will be picked up and there will be other topics to talk about.  A strong shoulder, a smiling face, holding hand and listening ear is all we need!

Wishing you all, hands to hold, ears to listen, shoulders to lean on and mostly, peaceful, gentle memories to fill your heart!


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