I really thought I was starting to get a handle on this whole 'grief thing'. I thought I had it all under control. Sure, I still cried randomly, I still felt the big black cloud of sadness envelope me every now and then, but I was 'getting my shit together'.
I made some changes in my life, I had re-discovered some things I needed to make me feel happier than I had been in a long time. Yep, I sure had it all going on...no stopping me now... hah!
Butch's death-aversary was on the 21st September. The day prioor, I had spent a lot of time pondering on my grief expedition and how far I had come. I decided to thank my family and friends for their support and love, so I created a 'public thank you' on facebook. As I wrote, tears streamed down my face. I was staying with good friends, but me being me, I didn't want them to know I was upset, so I stayed in my room until it wasn't noticeable. I wonder if I will ever get pasty this issue I have, that I mustn't cry in front of anyone? (I used to cry in front of Butch, of course, but he knew me inside out and back the front, so my illogical reasoning tells me that's 'different'!)
For an hour or so, I held it together, I stayed upbeat, never letting on....and then the dam walls broke. I raced upstairs to my room, pretending to be busy doing something. I couldn't stop the flow of tears. I tried my usual tactic of telling myself off and saying I should harden up. I tried telling myself it was okay to be upset, but that didn't help either. Grief is so isolating. Even if others are travelling the same road as you, even if they are grieving for the same person, their grief isn't your grief, and putting it into words defies science and expectation.
As I have mentioned countless times, I hate being seen crying, so when my friend's husband asked if it was okay if he came into the room, I replied 'Only if you keep your eyes closed!' He did a huge backwards leap, which made me smile, because he had misconstrued what I had meant.
My friends were so supportive. They didn't say 'Hey, its been five years, stop being a blubber butt!' They just hugged and sat with me. It was definitely my lucky day when they came into my life.
I had decided to do something on Butch's 'versary, to try and step up and out, but also because I felt if I went home to my family, I would be expecting them to prop me up for yet another year. It was interesting to note that my daughter had also found this year incredibly difficult. We agreed we should have spent the time together after all. Gotta love hindsight. Its so helpful.
My birthday is 10 days after Butch's 'versary. I woke up with the black cloud floating above my bed. Every part of my day, every moment was harsher, sharper and more intense than it had been for some time. Tears flowed freely until I had to go to work. On the drive there, I distracted myself as best I could and gave me the pep talk to end all pep talks.
My face felt swollen, my eyes distended and I couldn't seem to connect with my brain at all. It was a long and emotional day. I was perpetually and totally exhausted.
I would be interested to know if the five year mark has significance for others as well. I know that for us, as a family, it has certainly been more intense.
I still wish my life was different, that Butch was still here with me, even though I know it can't happen. Is that so wrong of me? Or just plain silly...?
A part of me wonders if grief is not so much about who we lose, but what we lose as a result. I don't mean that quite how it appears. It just seems to me that, surely, now I know that my wish won't be granted, that I would just pick up and move onward. Instead I am still caught up in loss, sadness and emotional pain. It is as if the dark fog of grief lifts, but returns as a soft grey mist that still swirls and affects my vision of the future.