Memories can be an amazing gauge. How far have you come? Have you healed? Have you grown? Have you distanced yourself from the pain you felt back then, whether it was physical, mental or emotional? That is one of the reasons that I like scrolling through the memories that pop up on social media. I want to remember, and I want to see how far I’ve come, or if I’ve allowed myself to stall. This in italics was written in 2019.
Sometimes conversations bring back memories that you don’t want to relive. You know that they don’t know or maybe did but forgot so you are quiet..
but the memories
and you never- ever-never, want anyone else to ever go through that. Yet they will. It happens all too often. Someone else will hurt, someone else will cry, someone else will stand at the gate looking for someone who will not return. ever.
So you go on, you pray, and you straighten up and you turn away and you breathe. You take it one day at a time. You take one more step, one more breath and you go on. All the while you want to scream and cry and beg. You smile, you tell everyone you’re fine, no you don’t need anything, you’ve got everything handled thank you. All the while inside your heart is falling apart and you want and you ache and you miss, but you go on because you have no choice.
If tomorrow comes, there will still be bills to pay, responsibilities to handle, family to cherish, and a breath to take. Just one more. Just one more. Just one more.
Nights are long, lonely, cold. You lay there in a bed that seems way too big now and you pull pillows close. You try to sleep but sleep is illusive, erratic, broken. Yet you lay there, listening to the sounds of the night. Crickets singing outside, thunder in the distance, a floorboard creaks, the cat pounding through the house. An owl calls echoing through the empty darkness, while you lay there, watching the minutes tick by. You wonder if the ceiling fan always made that noise. Your belly grumbles because you had so little appetite tonight, and you hope, and you wish and you pray, that tomorrow is better.
Tomorrow, you will not stress over bills and no overtime. Tomorrow, you will do better at the store and get enough but spend less. Tomorrow you will face the day with strength that you didn’t know you had. Tomorrow, you will do what you must- you will take one more day, one more step, one more breath. And you will manage
And just to clarify, even though the conversation brought back all of those memories and pain, I won’t quit. Yes, I do stay home a lot, no overtime means no money to burn. Even though my jeep is amazing on gas mileage, I’m trying to be conservative so I only go to certain places.
No, I still don’t sleep through the night, but it usually isn’t as bad as it once was. The nights I have something concerning me are the worst, but I’m learning to pray my way through them.
I am much better than I once was. I am stronger, I have learned how to take care of things, do things, face things. I’ll not quit.
I’m fine. I’ve got this.
Here were are now in 2022. Considering myself in full honesty, have I progressed? Yes. Am I healed? Not by a long shot. Because one doesn’t heal from grief, one adjusts and adapts. One holds the memories tightly and dearly in a special place in their heart and they never let go. Was my husband perfect? No. But I do miss him and there will always be those moments and those memories that will surface. We were together for thirty-four years, that is a lot of memories and life shared.
I can hold conversations now, even about him, without the deep searing pain. Now it is more of a gentle fondness that is based on that deep love. Even though we fought, even though our discussions could get loud, we loved just as loud. I can hear and see those big trucks now with that same feelings of what was without the heartbreak. My main regret is not having gone on a trip with him. Even as I know that being trapped in the small cab of a truck for days might have lead to more than one loud discussion. I need space to walk about. You don’t have that in a truck on time and location restrictions.
It is still at night, when everything grows quieter, that memories sometimes flow back like the tide. A gentle wave reminding me. When I am alone in the house and listening to the sounds of crickets outside my window and a ceiling fan that no longer makes that odd noise, when my mind and heart wander back. My bed still seems way too big at times when I glance across where you once slept. I still pull a pillow close as I drift into sleep. I do sleep better now most nights. I have found an herbal tea that helps me rest, on most nights. There are still nights that I awaken and listen to the dark. Those moments are brief and I will drift back off into a maybe restful, maybe restless sleep. It isn’t so much from missing you, or maybe it is. Maybe, it is because now, when I am facing things I have no one to talk it out with. But, I’m getting better, at facing battles and facing quiet.
I look back at three years ago, at five years ago, at years before you left, and I treasure those memories. I also see, just how far I’ve come. I have grown in faith and trust in God who has brought me so far. In a conversation yesterday I told someone we have to remember we are all sojourners. We are all on a journey from this life, this existence to our real home. Our journey will not be easy, there will be mountains and valleys and times of storms. There will also be times of comfort and peace. Times of rest. It is on that journey, where we grow. It is as we travel that we learn and become better and more and different. It is on that journey where we learn how much God does love us. There have been many times I have walked in conversation seeking answers and comfort. I have always received that comfort and always received answers. They may not have been the ones I wanted, but they were the answers according to God’s plan.
For today, when I look back I see the me I left in deep pain and grief. She isn’t so far back that I cannot see her, but the pain is different. It as I, have transformed. The pain has eased and evolved into a memory. Another part of the life that was but is no more. I have grown, adapted and adjusted. With each day of the journey I take another step and another breath and I move forward. Into making and remembering memories and into growth.