However, this past weekend, I realized that despite the fact that I feel like I am stagnant, I am actually making progress. When I first embarked on this grief journey in early April, people who had walked this road before me said I will always miss Dude but it will be possible for me to be happy again. Of course, I didn't believe them. My heart was ripped in two. The tears would come (and still do come) unexpectedly and my life is now changed forever. How on earth was I expected to be happy again when my best friend is in heaven, I am here, and everything is now different?! People assured me there would be a time that I would be able to feel truly happy. Grief would still be present, but the happiness would shine through. I waited and waited and this past weekend was the first time I caught a glimpse of this grief/happiness phenomenon.
And it was BIG! I was so happy to not only be happy, but to recognize that I was happy and for smiles and laughter to outnumber the tears!!
This weekend, I joined some college friends for a reunion in Atlanta. We are spread all across the country and rotate houses each year. This year, we went to John and Alyssa's house in the land of peaches, sweet tea and Coke. I had every opportunity to talk about Dude and all that has happened ad nauseam. They were all friends of his. All affected by the tragedy, but they do recognize that this cuts a little deeper for me and take such wonderful care of me with that in mind. More on the weekend highlights later, but I spent the weekend with a few of my favorites.
Perhaps it is because I felt this innate sense of protection from all of them. Perhaps it is because I was surrounded by lots of love. Perhaps it is because they are patient with me. Perhaps it is because they help me to acknowledge the loss but keep Dude's memory alive....
I couldn't help but say over and over " I am so happy guys! I had forgotten what it was like to be happy. Thank you so much. I am so happy!"
They may have gotten tired of me acknowledging my happiness, but I was blown away by it! If you've never suffered a profound loss, you may think I am pathetic, but this is such a big deal to me. A little bit of a turning point.
I can't fool you and say that I did not think of the loss everyday. Dude's absence was particularly prominent because had he been alive, he would have been with us. But, he was with us. I talk to him all the time and told him I wanted him to let me know he was in Atlanta with us....and he did. He let me know in ways that wouldn't necessarily be obvious to our friends, but in little things that I would pick up on thanks to our closeness and inside jokes. I cried a little bit, but was not a complete disaster like I had the potential to be.
I'm working on something in his memory (That's a secret for now). As such, today the sadness hit me again. It seems unreal to have to do something in memory of him -- and not do something with him. All that's to say, grief is definitely still present and will probably always rear its ugly head at times throughout my lifetime. I am certainly not over the hump, but this past weekend was a glimmer of hope for me.
I survived. I did it. I laughed way more than I cried. I was with a few of my favorites and I was genuinely happy.
Big, BIG news!