Ty and I are driving to Costco and talking about grief and its various forms. The death of a child is arguably the worst thing that can happen to a person and I would not argue against it, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of other forms of grief.
We can grieve everything from the loss of a job to the death of a loved one and anything in between. I remember being devastated when my parents pulled me from my school and my friends when I was in eighth grade. I thought it was the end of the world. We have friends going through various forms of grief now.
Ty asks me a question that really makes me think. She asks if I grieve my divorce from Mary. Hmmm….. I really have to think about that. It’s not something I think about much anymore. Hardly ever. Do I regret getting married? No. I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not had that experience? Do I regret getting divorced? No. I wouldn’t have met Ty or have Kayla and Shayna had I not gotten divorced? Yet, when I got divorced, it was as if a part of me died. In marriage, two people become one. My identity was wrapped up with Mary. I was her husband. I became that person. When we got divorced, the person I had become no longer existed. It was like a death in a very real sense. I haven’t seen or heard from Mary in over 25 years. I don’t know if she is alive or where she is, so in a practical sense, she is dead to me. But, all in all, I would have to say “No. I don’t grieve that anymore.” I am over it.
Then a horrifying thought occurs to me. There are very real parallels between the death of my marriage, the most important relationship in my life to that point, and not having Shayna here with me anymore. If I got over that, is it possible I could get over this? I quickly tell Ty “No it’s different with Shayna. I will never get over this.” I realize I don’t want to get over it. It’s not just a declarative statement, it’s a wish, an affirmation. I will not get over this, both in the sense that it won’t happen and it’s not my will for it to happen. I don’t want to move on. People talk in terms of “getting through” grief and “moving on” with our lives. I think it’s assumed we should want to get back to “normal” to go on with life as if the person we no longer have with us was never part of our lives. It hits me that one of the reasons I don’t want to live for a whole lot longer is the longer I live the greater the possibility I will “move on” and that thought terrifies me.