Great day at work, driving down the freeway, and ZING! Out of nowhere my heart is pierced with an arrow of pain that brings tears and sorrow that is so strong there is no way I can hold it back. I am amazed at the intensity of the pain; it is no less than the first day of my grief journey. Why didn’t I see this coming? How can it still be so deep?
There is no managing these arrows of pain. They are released from their bow with a random thought or picture that floats through my mind. Sometimes there are weeks between these piercing arrows. I guess that is the good thing; they do not come as often. I have determined, if my circumstances allow, to let the arrows do their job and release the pent up pain and sorrow that is always trying to build. On the arrival of my last arrow I was able to arrive home, say goodbye to Tom as he rushed out the door and then sit in my chair and really let the tears fall. In this moment, I allowed myself to do things I often steer away from because I’m tired of crying and cautious of sorrow overtaking; I gazed up at his picture and really looked at it. I pulled out Ryan’s baby book and took a trip down memory lane. These are all things that are still so important to do but I prevent myself from doing them often because I know what the results will be. Tears are good and healing, but I cannot allow them to rule my life. I must make decisions to not walk in sorrow, but life.
In this moment of sorrow I have choices to make. Luke is coming home and do I allow him to see me sitting there in sorrow? I’m supposed to go make applesauce with my lovely neighbor; do I cancel and continue to lament? I determine that while allowing tears to wash over me is o.k., spending a whole night doing this will not do anyone any good. I do not hide that I have been crying when Luke gets home, but he sees that I have not allowed my tears to debilitate me and I am moving on. I go to my friends to make applesauce and we enjoy some laughter and even a few more tears as we make applesauce; she sees the honesty of my grief and helps me move on in friendship. I chose to not get stuck that night. Amazingly, 24 hrs later I visit Amanda and the first thing she says as she looks into my eyes is, "Have you been crying?" I said, “Yesterday! How did you know?” She looks at me lovingly and says, “I can just tell.” Sweet girl.
I really try to be honest with my journey. After five months I truly do have more good days than bad…..but the bad still come. I imagine the pain of the loss of not having Ryan here in the physical will never lessen. Those arrows from nowhere will always be painful. But I am, can and will experience God’s Joy as I release that pain to Him and continue to make choices that will prevent that pain from overtaking me.
A thought that runs through my head often is that Ryan would HATE IT if he saw his death overtake me in sorrow. That night as I sat in my chair I envisioned him comforting me while I sat in sorrow and then cheering me on as I was making choices to get up and engage in life again. My friend, Sarah, actually made me laugh that night when I was sharing this. She said, “Of course! Ryan would have been saying, “Woman, get up out of that chair and live life!””