Grief Changes

You died 5 years ago, today. I no longer feel the searing pain of immediate loss, the bleeding out, the drowning as grief pressed me under every wave.

The broken pieces from shattering at your death are now tethered together by dense scar tissue. Visible and painful to the touch, certainly, but together just the same.

I’ve worked hard at healing, processing the unimaginable. Urging myself to give my all to the present. I laugh with friends and celebrate the joy of your sisters with Daddy. I can talk about our memories together, I can say your name… Gwendolyn… without crumbling into tears.

Most of the time my life feels so full of purpose because of you. Because of your ability to bring people together, your magic to make them feel courage and a desire to be kind. Because of the challenges of your diagnosis and our choice to the fight for change. It all became my life… And I am grateful for it.

But without you, the loss of you, it changed me. Sometimes I feel partially hollowed, like a pumpkin at Halloween with it’s insides scraped gone. Numb.

Sometimes I long for those early days of bleeding out because the rawness helped me feel so clearly. The heaving of tears was a cathartic release and emotion allowed me to drift along in the in-between, still hinged to you through our fierce bond.

Now I must work to feel connected to your presence. It no longer feels like home.

In the beginning I felt so alone, so isolated by the overwhelming pain that is hard for others to hold or to bare witness. It stung as as they walked away.

Now I see so much pain in the world, so many others who have endured, who have lost, who have experienced trauma. I recognize it, I feel it with them, but I too struggle to hold the weight of it all too closely.

Grief is transformational. And it has been part of most of my life. Sometimes I’d like to cast it aside. Only hold the love. The good memories and devotion.

How I feel today I know I won’t know five years from now. And so I honor this moment. This space. You taught me to hold onto the now, even when it’s hard.

Grief changes. And I’m changing with it. And that’s okay.

My love for you remains. My love for you is eternal, my darling butterfly.