Friday, July 24, 2015

Life after death

Not long before Kevin died we had a conversation about the afterlife. He believed there was someplace beautiful beyond this world, without pain, that he would continue. He promised that he would do his best to send me signs, so I would know he was okay, and it was a great comfort to me when that happened (those are private, I'll not share them here, but I know he still is). What we didn't talk about as much was my afterlife, my life after his death. He wanted to know that I would be okay. I lied and said yes, then told the truth and added, "But it will take time." He told me that he wanted me to live, that he wanted me to be happy, to fall in love again, to be the happiest that I could be. And then it was time for more meds or a nurse came in or he simply fell asleep, I don't remember.

It was a hard conversation though vitally important.

He's been gone almost 16 months now. I still miss him terribly but I am beginning to explore what life after death means. I am beginning to find a new definition of okay. About a month ago I decided that I was ready to start living again. I think moving helped, because it forced me to look at the physical things in my life and make choices. What was helping me? What was holding me back? There were ripples. What patterns of behavior were helping me? What were causing me unnecessary pain? Who do I want to be? I certainly haven't answered any of those questions, I doubt I ever will, but I am beginning to consider them in new ways.

Grief is an incredibly powerful force and it can be all-consuming. I'm sure I'm not done with the howling pain. But grief is an ingredient in something bigger, something that IS all-consuming. Grief is part of life.

If I live I will grieve. So will you. If we are lucky we will grieve deeply and fiercely, because we loved deeply and fiercely. If we are very lucky we will grieve and laugh and love and live after the loss because we were loved so deeply, so fiercely, so well.

Kevin loved me very well. While I find it less than helpful when people tell me he would never want me to suspend my life forever, I know this to be true. More than that, I know it is in my nature to experience life fully.

When I think of that conversation I feel my throat constrict. The loss rushes back to me and my eyes cloud, but I am so grateful for it. I am so grateful we were able to have that talk. I am so grateful he was in my life at all, even with the loss. I am so grateful that he understood what I could not 16 months ago; that I would eventually want to be fully engaged in my life again. Six months ago I never would have believed that I would be writing these words, and it is still a moment-by-moment thing. Some moments are still searing.

But Kevin was right.

While I can't yet see the beauty all of the time, I have glimpses. While it is not the same, while I sometimes have trouble believing it, while I am not the same person with the same life, there is life after death.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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