One year ago today I was sitting by my boyfriend’s hospital bed, watching some ridiculous show on A&E, as he slept his hours away. Three short days later he was gone. In fact, that’s how the nurses told me he had died.
Everyone was just sitting in the family conference room outside of the critical care unit, red-faced from crying when I walked in. I don’t know what I was expecting to hear when his mom called me up to that room. Maybe, he’s awake now and wants to see us. Or, he has a long road ahead of him but he’s improving. Instead I got sad faces of shock and grief.
Finally, a nurse looked at me and said, “he’s gone.” Sobs escaped my mouth as I sat next to his mother in utter disbelief. This can’t be real, I thought. But it was so real. And seeing his lifeless body, free of IV’s and machinery, free of pain, made it the most genuine state of real ever witnessed.
And so began my time in the wilderness.
So began my time of subtle darkness, not completely swallowing me whole, but dimming my light more than I liked.
So began my very own grief process.
No matter what your grieving process looks like…no matter how much chocolate you consume, or how many reruns of Gilmore Girls you watch to escape from your reality or how many times you have solo dance parties in your bedroom…one thing they all have in common: time pulls us forward.
Time gives us clarity, gives us space. It forces us back into the routine we are scared to face after something traumatic happens. And eventually that routine reinforces hope and promise that things will become “normal” again. Once we accept that we must face a new kind of normal, time becomes our friend.
The year mark is here, approaching on Saturday. Whether I want to see it or not it is staring me down, refusing to be ignored, refusing to go unnoticed. I have spent a great deal of time stressing about how I will spend the day, knowing that it is important for me that I treat it as sacred and special. Great relief came when I finally made the decision to spend it with great friends, in a cabin, in the wilderness. A great place to rest, reflect and resurrect.
And on Sunday I will depart from the wilderness knowing the Lord my God will always carry me, just as he did for me this year, walking beside me every step of the way, all the way until I reached this place.
“The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. ” -Deuteronomy 1:30-31