The 6th

I woke up this morning fully aware that Shannon has now been gone 8 months.  A lifetime and yet, the blink of an eye.

But, I didn't awake to sadness or dread today.  I feel good.  Not that you all care how I "feel", but it's just a reminder that each day on this journey is different and acceptance of what you "feel" at any given moment makes the journey easier.  I think that's true for anyone in this crazy world, but it's just more poignant and frontal as we navigate the path of grieving.  Earlier this week I felt sad and mad, but today I feel good.

We spend a lot of time "thinking" about what we "feel"... part of the process, I suppose...

Before all this, I remember hearing stories where people claimed that life altering events had changed them for the better.  I thought that was a bunch of bullshit.  I naively believed that they were just saying that as a coping mechanism to prop themselves up enough to get out of bed and go on.  How could a loss like this make your life better in any way?

But, I get it now.  I now have an understanding that it's not all within my control.  I now see a bigger, wider, world.  There are more shadows, but also more light.

I am working on patience, acceptance, and gratitude.

Patience with myself - and with others.  Earlier this week, I was listening to some kids complain about their schedules and their teachers and I felt so much anger because I took it personally.  How could they be taking it for granted?  Not everyone gets to go to high school, you know... which leads me to acceptance.  Those girls weren't doing anything wrong.  Their behavior was normal.  I am the one who is different.

I know that intellectually, but emotionally it is hard to accept sometimes.  I am realizing that my perspective on "normal" things will always be colored by my experience.  Sometimes that makes things harder, but sometimes it makes things clearer.  The events of the past 17 months mean I will always live in an altered reality.  I am learning to accept life as it is now.  Which leads me to gratitude.

Today, I "feel"good.  I took a walk in the cold, crisp morning air.  I am wearing a Shannon shirt as I do the 6th of each month.  I will think about her and Erin and Dan and our family and friends as I go through my day, and I will try and practice that gratitude, acceptance, and patience...

As I did some reading this morning, this passage jumped out at me:

"Look upon each day that comes as a challenge, as a test of courage.  The pain will come in waves, some days worse than others, for no apparent reason.  Accept the pain.  Do not suppress it.  Never attempt to hide grief from yourself.  Little by little, just as the deaf, the blind, the handicapped develop with time an extra sense to balance disability, so the bereaved will find new strength, new vision, born of the very pain and loneliness which seem, at first, impossible to master." - Daphne Du Maurier