It has been almost two weeks since I last completed a blog. The significance is not lost on me. Perhaps it is the inevitable course of this horrible journey; the writing will naturally subside along with the tears. I don't cry every day anymore and I don't feel the need to write with the same urgency that I once did. There was so much to say back at the beginning, so many emotions to process: shock, disbelief, anger, guilt, fear, denial, nostalgia, love, remorse and, of course, sadness: a deep persistent sadness that lies beneath the surface like a dark pool. I've expressed myself in so many different ways on so many different days. There are no stages to this grief; emotions change as quickly as clouds shifting in the sky. It is a never-ending cycle. Grief is an inescapable part of my reality now.
Perhaps this is the holy grail of acceptance that I've been waiting for but it's not the way I imagined it. Nothing is fixed, the situation is not better, everything is not ok. What broke is still broken, what is missing is still missed. I am not back to normal. I have changed and I have grown through the experience but time has brought neither the wisdom that it happened for a reason nor the understanding that this was somehow for the best. The sun shines more than it did but there is no silver lining to this cloud. I am just learning to live with the dark pool of grief beneath the surface, learning the impossible art of walking on water, not falling quite so often, learning to swim when I do. I accept now that it will never go away.
And, yes, I accept that, though there was no reason, it did happen and that there is no going back. The facts are simple in the end: I fell in love with you and you died. It was a short, beautiful, brutal story with a beginning, a middle and an end. It can't be the whole story of my life. I can't just write about you for the rest of my days. There aren't enough words to keep you alive. There are only so many ways to say I love you.
And so, I must move forward. Part of the reason that I've written less over the last two weeks is that, spurred on by the new year, I've been investing time in trying to build something new. I've been putting scaffolding in place, laying foundations. I've been spending my days with coloured pens and paper, trying to map out a future. I've been consulting with the experts about the best way to build on top off dark waters, about how to live with absence.
I have, very tentatively, started dabbling with dating again. Oh the horror, the horror! I have faced again the awfulness of trawling through online profiles and making stilted conversation with men who don't know how to use full stops; the indignation of being deleted by randoms who are not getting where they wanted quickly enough; the dispiriting meetings with people who are not you. I have cried a lot in the process, have gone back to disbelief again: I shouldn't have to do this when I have only just found a man who really loves me, a man I really love.
I have also taken on some new work projects and I have had to let some others go. As a self-employed professional whose life was blown to pieces, I have a lost a lot of income and I need to start earning properly again but I have had to accept that some things are beyond my capabilities still. The big writing centre that I would like to establish will have to wait. There is only so much I can do whilst walking carefully over dark waters.
The truth is, I spent the first week of January trying to run before I could walk and fell quite spectacularly. My foundations are still shaky. The darkness and depth of the grief pool has almost swallowed me several times and, even though the darkness is so familiar, I still fear, each time that I might drown. Grief is still snakes and ladders. I go backwards as often as I move forwards.
So I am back to taking baby steps, committing to self-care. I am swimming, doing yoga, trying to get more sleep. My herbalist says she would like to me to follow an 'old lady routine' but I am not an old lady yet and I still have things that I want to do with this life. That is progress, at least. I find that I want to live again. Instead of wanting to die, I now find myself panicking that my life will be over before I've had chance to rebuild and to live again. But I can't rush it. I must move slowly and gently now.
As part of my self-care routine, I went back to my mindfulness class this week and absorbed the words on the paper that were handed to me:
There will be no moving forward till we accept where we are with grace and compassion.
We may not like it.
We may want to be anywhere but here.
We have to believe that where we find ourselves is the best place we can be in, in order that we might learn what is needed and then place our attention and our feet in the direction that is right for us to tread.
I don't believe that where I am is the best place for me. I do not like it. I wish I was anywhere but here. But I do accept it now. The words of Deacon Blue's new song keep finding me from the radio.
"If I never see you one more time, I know you're in all my dreams.
It would be everything, just to see you back again but you're gone."
I am not the person that I was before you died. I must start again gently from where I am now.