Friday, August 19, 2016

Nothing to prove

In just a couple of months, it will have been three years since our daughter passed away at the age of 21. Grief, my constant and relentless companion at first, has become more of a travelling companion now, and I nod at it as it overtakes me and carries me in its wake at times. Other times, I travel life without it dogging my heels. Some days I even forget that I have been that profoundly touched by its presence. Other days, it's all I can think about.

At first, every conversation was about her. I needed to talk about her, needed to not forget her. I was afraid that I would forget what her laugh sounded like. I was afraid that if I enjoyed life, I might stop hurting - and I needed to hurt - hurting made the loss feel more fitting somehow.  

I kept reminders of her everywhere. Pictures, pieces of jewelry, little keepsakes, cards and letters from people expressing their condolences... things that helped me traverse the nettles of fresh grief, things that kept the wound from closing until it healed on the inside. I maintained that one never gets over the death of someone so close. And one doesn't.  Yet ... I started to get worn down by the grief. It was like being chained to a post. The reminders became burdensome because they were reminders of what I had lost, not of what she had gained by being free of her own chains, all the strikes against her.  I lost sight of how happy she is now.  

April 26, 2016 - the d├ęcor of our living room is changing.
As well, as time wore on, I began to realize that my belle was all about living large - enjoying the moment - and she would want me to do the same.  So I began to put away in a safe place some of the little things that were such a constant reminder of her and which, likely as not, would just end up making me sad. All those snowflakes are mostly relegated to one Christmas ornament that hangs in the corner of our living room doorway, and a chain of snowflakes a dear friend crocheted for me for Christmas last year. Oh ... and the paper snowflakes my belle taped to a lampshade one year. Her picture still hangs in our kitchen, but the wall art in the living room - where we spend the most time during our waking hours - has changed to reflect the things in our lives that we enjoy. Things that remind us all of life, of beauty, of strength and freedom.

I think that before, I kept trying to prove to people that I loved my daughter and that I missed her.  I have come to a sort of place of peace about that, knowing that love is eternal, that it is probably the only thing that you take with you when you die (so I know she still loves me!), and that as long as we are separated, I will ALWAYS miss her.  I don't have to prove that.  It's a fact.

So I guess I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore - and I think that I have already begun to move forward, onward, upward - in small ways.  I don't need those constant reminders anymore.  I don't need to look back at what might have been; I can't change that.  I don't need to wish I could go to her in the sweet bye and bye.  That will happen soon enough; that's a fact of life.  

It's okay that she is free of having to prove herself too. She's totally free of that pressure to perform, that uphill battle to just have the right to take up space. I would not dare take that freedom away from her even if I could.  And I cannot.

What I can do is live.  Not just survive, but LIVE. Enjoy life.  Have goals. Strive for them. Relish today.  Savour the moment.  Not living in the "if only I had" or the "I can't wait until" but living in the "this is so cool" mentality.  That's how she lived her life.  That's how I choose to live mine.  Nothing to prove, not to anyone, not to her, not even to myself.  

It's okay to put some of her stuff away.  It doesn't mean that I forgot her or that I ever WILL forget her.  It just means that I embrace life, not death.  

I think that's what she would want.  I know it's what I want.

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