Today I take my monthly walk with my friend Bill who’s been counseling me since Shayna passed. We take a 3-5 mile walk about once a month to check in with each other and get a little exercise. Today, we talk about the business, his upcoming vacation (he always has an upcoming vacation) and things in general. Then, he asks me how I’m feeling these days.
I know that people want to hear I’m feeling better, that I’m “over it”, that I’m “moving on”. But, I have to be honest. If you’re going to ask, you’re going to get the truth. It’s still a struggle. I explain to him that the way it’s been explained to me that the pain doesn’t get any less, your capacity to bear the pain just increases. I tell him that I don’t like where I am right now. I don’t like where i see myself in the future, but I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel (see what I did there?). He, being a counselor/pastor in a former life, assesses me. He tells me that when people are in grief, he looks for that turning point where the event that cause the grief is no longer the defining point in that person’s life.
I take a moment to think about this. I tell him, I’m not one to ever say never. I’m not going to say I will never get over this. But, I cannot see my way to that from where I am now. It seems to me that Shayna’s passing will always be the defining moment of my life. There is before Shayna passed and there is after Shayna passed. I can’t ever see that changing. I do the best I can day to day. I try to be productive. I saw a meme the other day saying when a child loses a sibling, they not only lose that sibling, they lose the parents they had before the sibling passed. I try my best to not do that to Kayla or to Tywana. I am here for them. But, I’d be lying if I said the world hasn’t gone black and white for me. The color is gone from it. I live in this world, but I long for the next one. Bill tells me that he wishes for me that I will get to the point. I appreciate the sentiment. But, whether I get there or not is not really on my radar right now. Every day is one more step on the journey. I tell him that I intend to move forward one step at a time. When I walk my 6.5 miles every day I contemplate the steps along the physical streets being like days toward reaching my goal. Every day is one more step.
I know I’m supposed to want to have joy in my life. And, I suppose somewhere inside I do want that. It just doesn’t seem achievable right now. So, I set a mini-goal, an achievable goal, of being present and being productive. That I can do. If the joy comes, I’d be happy with that. But, it’s such a grind right now, everything is so hard, that day seems like a long way off. Even if I don’t get there, it doesn’t matter because, as I tell Bill, whatever stands between me and the day I close my eyes here and wake up there, I will have that day. I remember how much Shayna loved Christmas and her birthday. Sadly, for her, they were only three weeks apart. So, she spent most of the year waiting for those days. They day after Christmas, she would begin to countdown to the next Christmas. For me, the day I see her again is my Christmas. I don’t know when it’s coming, but I know it’s coming.
We finish our walk and I head home. It’s just Kayla and me this weekend. Tywana’s off celebrating her birthday with college friends. I grab some sushi for dinner and Kayla and I begin our Brian/Kayla weekend. It’s a beautiful night, so we sit on the deck for a while and have a heart-to-heart. I’m slowly working through introducing her to my favorite movies. Tonight it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail. She loves it. One more thing crossed of my bucket list. We watch another B movie on Netflix. We love discovering sleepers. This one isn’t so great, but it prompts great conversation. I do so enjoy these moments, these rest stops along the way.