I’ve been watching this weekend approach for, well, a year I guess. But it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that I really started to feel the ‘anticipatory grief’… that’s the technical term for it. Knowing that the anniversary of Warren’s death was so close felt like I was stuck on the tracks and I could see the headlight of the train in the distance.
On Wednesday I went to see my grief therapist, told her how I was feeling, wept on her couch for an hour and a half. When I left she said ‘you’re doing better than you realize’. I guess I am. I guess my life is going on, just as it should. But that doesn’t feel better. I keep bumping up against the shock and denial – how can he still not be here? I think there was some weird part of me that thought that once I got through this first year, it would be over and then… I don’t know… he’d be back? No. But that it wouldn’t have happened or… I have no idea. It’s some sort of weird magical thinking.
One of the biggest things that I realized last week, is that – and I’m sorry if this is too blunt – he’s not dying again. It will never be as horrible or hard as it was on May 5th of 2017. It is still horrible. It still makes no sense that he isn’t here. But it will never hurt as much as it did that morning, or the morning after. Waking up without him was a shock I was sure I would never get used to.
I will never forget the relief I felt when my sister Linda and her husband Chris came to Idaho falls and gave me a safe place to fall apart. They cared for me, let me cry and cry and cry. Made sure I ate and drank. Helped me pack. Spoke to the crematory and arranged when we were to pick up his ashes. Drove me back to Canada and didn’t blink an eye when I got angry or rude on the drive. Our relationship is now bonded, sealed: I will never be able to think of this time and not feel gratitude for their love and gentle support. They are both the most incredible humans.
This week I got to experience more of that support – not just Linda and Chris checking in on me each day, making sure I wasn’t sinking too deep. All of my family, near and far, were keeping an eye on me. I received messages of love of support from all over: my cousin Kirsten in Oregon, my best friend Roslyn (who is going through her own difficulties right now). Peggy, Brenda, David, Jennifer, Kathy, Eileen – they all found ways to connect this weekend.
My work family has been fantastic – I got a bouquet and a message of ‘hogs and kisses’ from my two besties at work – and my boss and his bosses were gentle and respectful of my time away from work right now. Steve, my boss, has been very supportive – making sure I knew he was available if I needed him.
It hasn’t been the year I expected.
I, of course, anticipated a much longer time with my Warren. But since this is the way it went, I am grateful – that’s not even the right word. Is there a word that means grateful, amazed, thankful, in awe? Whatever that word is, insert it here. I am grateful for the people in my life. Grateful for the way this year has unfolded – so gently, with such support and love.
Warren Allen McLeod, you are deeply missed. You have been in my thoughts every day – you are always with me. I love you. I miss you. You are my heart, my Bear.