Friday, July 1, 2016

Inviting the dead in

Grief is a funny thing. 27 months out from Kevin's death, it is still my constant companion, but now it's more something that travels with me rather than something that consumes me. Perhaps it has eaten me and I've been reborn from its substance, a shamanic experience. I don't know.

What I do know is, although I still don't have real control over when the grief hits and how, I can invite it in and those experiences are much easier, more healing that the great waves that sometimes still overtake me.

Kevin's 58th birthday was this week, the third time I've tried to celebrate his birth since he died. It was hard, of course, but I decided that I'd rather invite the grief in and honor him, instead of letting it all overwhelm me. I spent time with friends who love him still. We had Kevin's favorite meal for dinner, with a picture of him accompanying us. We talked about him and told stories. We invited him in.

I cried, of course I did, but more than that, I loved him. I remembered him. I honored him. I invited him to continue being part of my life and reminded myself that his life has had far much more and far better impact on the world than his death. His death is only a part of his life. In so many ways, he is still here.

I invited him in through the taste of the barbecue in my mouth.
I invited him in with the stories we told.
I invited him in by sitting outside in the heat and humidity.
I invited him in and by so doing I felt connected with him. I let the grief be part of the day, but it wasn't the whole of the day. The love was more.

I am still sad. I still miss him terribly. I was cranky as hell for most of this week for these reasons and more. But.

I have reminded myself that grief is about love. Over the last 27 months I have slowly felt the love become more important than the pain. It takes time. It isn't that way every day but sometimes I still feel the warmth of his skin, the light of his smile.

The grief parts like the sea and I find myself buoyed up, so grateful for his life, for his love, for the support of all those who embrace me. I watch the flame of his candle flicker and I feel his presence. I didn't know I would ever find this place and it is certainly bittersweet, but I would rather remember him with tear-stained love than only with grief.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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