Monday, April 8, 2024

Moving forward

There are days that you experience during your life that you remember so vividly it is as if you could relive them in your mind. They are typically the best days of your life or sadly the worst, but there are those days that are not quite so simple to categorize. The ones that tug at your heart because they represent both a beginning and an end of a period, or an experience. Those moments, similar to the best and the worst also find a way to settle into your mind and sit forever in a crevice. The emotions that come with them are a blend of happy and sad, panic and calmness, a burst of tears and a deep breath, complete opposites like the crashing of a wave and then the receding water back into the ocean, an earthquake that comes lasting for less than a minute and then ends, or a breeze in the wind that slowly fades away.

I've learned over the 4 years 2 months and 4 days that grief is a constant battle of finding the balance of my inner ocean. For the most part, I do my best to keep the crashing waves subtle, but there are days on this journey when the crash is impossible to ignore. There are days when the balance feels insurmountable. Those questionable days become just as significant as the celebrations of her life and the honoring throughout and since her death. These days in a sense aren't negative, but it is difficult to call them positive. They are what others would call moving forward, and yes, in a sense that would be correct. But something that I have also learned on this journey is that when they tell you you won't move on, that you will move forward, that doesn't mean it will be easy and it doesn't mean it won't hurt like you just buried your child all over again. 

I remember the first day I had a conversation within my mind over not going to visit the cemetery for the first time after Sonzee died. I watched the clock tick by knowing as time passed so would my opportunity to sit by her grave. I knew when the clock read the time I needed to leave by to beat the gates closing that if I didn't get up and go I would miss my chance. I sat there and reminded myself that I wasn't going for her, I was going for me, and I was truly "ok" not going and the sadness was the fact that I was ready to not go. I remember the pain that swirled in my chest and the overwhelming sadness that swallowed me whole, the intense guilt that it brought along with it. I did it though, I watched the clock strike 4pm, and I was okay, life was moving forward

I remember the first sibling/cousin picture that happened that I "forgot" to put a "stand-in" for Sonzee. I remember reminding myself right after it happened that it meant it was okay, it was part of the process, I was moving forward. I felt panic, sadness, and tears, again with the guilt, and the realization that it was okay, life was moving forward

I remember the first time I stopped writing Sonzee weekly letters. Like visiting the cemetery, they too were more for me than her. I found a new way to communicate with her, I didn't need to send her a letter on a blog. The guilt settled in strongly paired with so many other emotions. But, like the other events, I was okay, life was moving forward.

In May of 2020 in the throws of COVID, 3 months after we buried our Sonzee Bear we ventured to Flagstaff, and like much of the things we have done in our marriage, we threw a random dart and did something crazy, we purchased a house in Kachina Village. That home became our Bear Pines, our home away from home, our family retreat, a place Sonzee's baby brother labeled "other home". That home was more than just a house, it was the place that held my sanity together and brought us so many insane memories. It was a place that filled a void and gave so many others a sense of peace to venture to. But, like so many experiences since our Sonzee left us, it has served its purpose. Our family as a whole is ready to move forward. There is hockey and gymnastics and adventures that remove our ability to go up north for the weekend. I know that life continues moving forward, I know that selling Bear Pines is the right thing to do, it is time, and we will be okay because life is moving forward

The pit in my stomach and the tears streaming down my face are not because I am sad that we are selling, it is because I know I am ready and it breaks my heart. It's how I felt when we sold 19th street, allowed the insurance company to throw away her wet furniture after the flood, and painted over her medication door. Moving forward is so hard. It is filled with tremendous guilt, questions over how she will be honored now, and fear that eventually, I will leave her completely behind. The tears, the sadness, the red eyes, and the horrid ugly crying is because moving forward is so freaking scary, and I miss her so damn much. But deep down I know, like every time before, it will be okay...because life will continue to move forward

The Mighty Contributor

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