October belongs to my dad. Screw Pink. Now July does too. Partly anyway. Two years ago my dad died. July is now a month of sadness. A death month. Does that sound too morbid? I don’t mean it to. July is also filled with loads of good memories of all sorts. But now some of my most-cherished July memories are about my dad’s last days. Some are painful (I cannot yet write about some of them), but wonderful nonetheless. Treasures for my heart are what they are.
There are plenty of things to love about July.
Son #one got married that same July two years ago. A few family members have birthdays in July. There are warm summer days. And nights. There’s my summer reading list to get to. There are vacations to take and gatherings to attend. There’s grilling and ice cream. Okay, more ice cream. I mean, you almost have to eat ice cream in July, do you not? There are July blooms and July fireworks and many other good things and good times to enjoy.
I don’t dislike July. But it’s forever changed now.
Such is the way with life. And death.
After two years, I’ve been wondering, should grief be easier now?
After all, those first hours, days, weeks and months of grief can be pretty darn intense. Such intensity cannot be maintained. As we all know, grief ebbs and flows. It’s loud. It’s quiet. It’s public. It’s private. It goes under. It resurfaces. It evolves. It surprises us. It changes us.
Again, after two years, should grief be easier now?
Maybe. Maybe not. For some. Not for others.
How many times have you heard it said that after loss, the first year is the hardest?
You know, there’s that coming full circle thing.
But is the first year hardest?
Year two I learned, in some ways, was harder.
During year one, you get to think back to last Christmas, last summer, last fall, last Father’s Day, last Thanksgiving or whatever last “ordinary” memory that comes to mind. All year long, you get to picture your dear one in whatever last you are reflecting upon. There’s a certain amount of comfort in that.
During year two, you realize a whole year has gone by without your loved one in it, so in a way, year two is harder. Or it has been for me. Last year no longer “contains” my dad.
With the passing of time comes more separation. Literally. Sometimes that’s harder.
Grief never ends. Nor should it.
How could it?
But when do memories bring smiles more often than sadness and tears?
When does remembering not bring that ache to your heart?
There are no answers or timetables.
Grief isn’t something to get over or something to be fixed. Or even something that gets easier. In fact, sometimes it gets harder.
Grief is what it is.
The following words Jamie Anderson wrote about grief in, As the Lights Wink Out, feel perfect:
Grief, I’ve learned, is really love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot give. The more you loved someone, the more you grieve. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes and in that part of your chest that gets empty and hollow feeling. The happiness of love turns to sadness when unspent. Grief is just love with no place to go.
Grief is just love with no place to go.
Indeed it is.
Without love, there’s no grief.
If there’s comfort to be found in grief; it’s love.
Yes, it’s love.
Miss you, Dad. Love you forever.
Who do you grieve for?
What is something you miss about her/him?
Has your grief evolved and if so, how?