A few weeks ago a friend sent the following to me.
Brian, you can’t set a deadline or pace for going through this endurance test of grief. It has its own pace. It’s like rafting on a mighty river… You have to steer the boat and avoid the obstacles that can flip you, avoid falling out of the boat or losing and oar (you know the expression “He has only one oar in the water”), steer into eddys when you need a break, and eventually you’ll get into some calm flat water. Eventually, you’ll make it the whole way. And you will remember the best parts of the trip… life with your beloved angel, wish that you could take the trip again, and know that in the blink of an eye (this life here) you will be together again. Keep paddling… You can do this.
How he knows this I don’t know, but I would like to say thank you to Jeff again because my mind keeps coming back to this analogy. I thought the rapids and the eddies would be measured in days or even weeks. Maybe eventually they will. Now they’re measured in hours.
I have my usual cry before I get out of bed, a great time on my walk where I listen to Podcasts that lift my spirit and commune with God and Shayna. Then it’s back to the office for some work. I keep a light schedule these days because the brain damage has taken away my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. And my brain is damaged. The chemicals are all off. I’m in a fog. I can’t remember things. I can’t make decisions. The late morning and afternoon are full of what are now the usual ups and downs. My counselor/friend Kevin checks in with me around 4:30. I’ve just had a major crying spell. I’m angry right now. No, I’m pissed. I just slammed my desk three times. I slammed it so hard I think I might have broken a bone in my hand. Kevin asks how my day has been. “It sucks.” I tell him. “They all suck.” He tells me he has seen progress though. He tells me there are times when I’m better. I tell him I’m noticing a pattern. What he hears from me depends on what time he checks in. Early morning, I’m pretty good. That is after I cry before I get out of bed. I’m good during my exercise. I cry in the shower. Afternoons are OK. But, around 3-5 o’clock, I’m running out of energy. And that is the time a few weeks ago I’d be thinking about knocking off for the day and looking forward to seeing Ty and Shayna. The last two days around that time have been unbearable. The pain is excruciating (and now physical pain in my hand). As I’m talking to Kevin through the pain and the anger, something profound comes out of me. At least I think it’s profound. And, I say “comes out of me” because I don’t think it came from me. I say “I can’t let my love for Shayna destroy my life.” and as I say it, the impact of it hits me. Shayna would not want that. It makes no sense that our love should destroy us. I would do anything for Shayna. i would trade places in a heart beat. I would take her back and start all over with nothing. I would give all my limbs and my sight to have her back. But, none of those things are options. I must go on. I have to do it for her, for Ty and for Kayla. The moment passes and once again I dry my eyes and keep going. I repeat what has become my mantra. “I don’t know if I can make it 10-20 or 30 years, but I can make it through today.”
When the rapids come, I keep paddling. The eddies come when I can take a break. Ty has been phenomenal throughout this. She has shown me time and time again why we chose each other. I’m becoming more convinced that the four of us are a soul group, which is my greatest hope now. As we go to lunch on her birthday, I tell her we always knew it was unlikely the four of us would not all go at the same time. Someone was going to be left to mourn. I know we will each get our soul reviews and I think we’ll be proud of our work. I hope there is a reunion though where the four of us can all celebrate together.
For now the race continues. There is more work to be done here. It won’t be the same without our beautiful light here, but we will always have her memory anchoring us and the promise of seeing her again to take us forward.