Friday, January 1, 2016

The things we carry

It is mid-day on the first of a new year.

Two years ago today I woke with Kevin beside me. We had fallen asleep early the night before, well before midnight, because he was so sick. We didn't yet know that this was the last New Year's morning we would have.

A year ago today I went to bed and woke alone, the first time I had ever awoken by myself on New Year's Day as an adult. I wrote about my resolutions for the day and have, by and large, met them all. I remember Kevin, who he was and all that we were together. I am living more thoroughly than I ever thought I could following his death. I have honored his memory, my life and all that these both entail. I have forgiven myself and continue to do so over and over again.

I am still here.

This morning I woke beside my new love. It was a wonder and very strange. He is the right man for me to be with now, like Kevin in his kindness, intelligence and compassion, quite different in the way he moves through the world. Where Kevin was seen, my new love observes. Both are wonders. Both love me deeply and authentically. I am stunned by how lucky I am.

For all that I again love and am loved, I still carry Kevin. I still carry grief. I still carry who I was, who he was, who we were. I carry all of these into my life-after-death. They are a welcome load though sometimes it's hard to carry what was and what is.

Choosing to engage with the world following his death doesn't mean I am abandoning Kevin or who we were together. I am saying this not to you, but to myself. I need to remind myself over and over again that Kevin is as firmly a part of who I am now as any new life and new love. Loving again, adding to my experience, bringing more light into the world, doesn't mean I will stop carrying all that has gone before. My new love understands this and welcomes it, probably more easily than I can. He reminds me, over and over, that we are not limited in our capacity to love and that more love in the world is a treasure.

It is not a betrayal. I have to keep reminding myself of this.
I am as deserving of happiness after Kevin's death as I was before it.

Whoever you are, whatever your love and loss, you too are worthy of love and happiness. You are allowed to forgive yourself.

You and I both did the best we could.

I could not save Kevin from pancreatic cancer, no matter what I did. This isn't a failure but was, instead, a monumental act of love. I loved Kevin enough to fight for him. I loved him enough to let him go. And I love him enough now to admit that I was worthy of his love and worth loving again.

Whatever you carry, it does not mean you cannot also make room for the new. We are worthy.

May 2016 bring us all peace, love and contentment.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Laura, as always, you speak exactly what I need to hear. We are so close on this journey. I am trying so hard to live the life my love would want me too, but don't quite know what to do with the love I still have for my sweetheart who died but is still such a part of the fabric that is my life. But, we do it and try to get it right. Some days I feel as if I do, and some days I am a wreck, but we HAVE to go on and our loves would want us to> Thank you for sharing, it always helps me...


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