It is getting easier. I’m starting to tip the scale; I can feel it. When I walk through “JOE’S BEACH,” which I’ve been doing every day, I’m not consumed with ‘only’ thoughts of him. My mind is going to other places, too. It’s forward-thinking, it’s dreaming, it’s believing, it’s knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for my life. And I’m looking so forward to discovering it.
This is all a part of the process. Everything I’m doing now is a part of the un-earthing. Writing, traveling, walking, meditating. The gradual transitions- the fact that Joe and I had never rented a house before leaving Florida- until last year, that is. We came in and did a walkthrough. I have pictures of Joe standing in this very house. Looking out the window in the bedroom, standing in the kitchen, laughing in the laundry room (when he discovered he was RIGHT about something he and Erin had argued about earlier- and he couldn’t wait to tell her— “told ya!”)
And yet, he never slept here. Instead, he ushered me in gently, with a walkthrough, with pictures. Joe had no plan of killing himself at that point; he had gotten to a good place in his mind, while here, and while in Wisconsin that October before- in 2019. Before covid, quarantines, and riots, life was still moving. We were still dealing with his depression- yes, but he was NOT suicidal. He was ready to get back to work.
But God knew what was coming my way and just how to ease me into this new reality. Another gift. It’s so obvious to me. You see it too, right?
Joe talked about getting a puppy as soon as we got home. He’d been looking at Boxer Rescue the whole time we were in Florida- that’s WHY we needed a new place to stay, someplace that was pet friendly. He thought that having a dog to take care of would be a welcome distraction- something good to focus on, something to look forward to. I, however, did NOT want a puppy. I wanted HIM to 100% have a puppy, and I wanted HIM to have 100% responsibility for training it. I was 100% NOT interested in training a puppy. 🙂 I don’t like that stage- except for cuddling and puppy breath. (obviously!)
And here I am now with Grinch.
Never my puppy- and not Joe’s puppy. Joe changed his mind about that as soon as covid hit, and I could do nothing to convince him otherwise. He never met Grinch. He’s two years old, rescued from the pound, and already named (perfectly, I might add, for Joe’s replacement!) and exactly what I needed: house trained, no chewing of things, well behaved (mostly!), and now I have something to take care of. A distraction—and a living breathing presence to help take care of me. He has been a part of my healing. Not Joe’s puppy as planned, and still, we had a pet-friendly house before leaving here last year. Now Grinch and I are here, living in it- a temporary solace.
And still…somewhere between the loss and the trauma, I am finding so much JOY. I love looking for the gifts-all of them– because they are EVERYWHERE! Do you believe that? I hope you do. They. are. everywhere. In the little things that we can’t see or hear… until. Until the timing is right for the knowing. My friends, my mom, and even strangers have given me so much to think about— wise words, and I am seeking wisdom everywhere. If you have something to share with me and you’re feeling the nudge… I really hope you’ll find your courage. Because I must need to hear what you have to say. (that’s what the nudge is…that’s God speaking to us.)
How many times have I said if someone had predicted this to be my life, I would have never believed it. NEVER. But it is my life. this. is. my. life. And it’s up to me what I do with it— how I look at it, how I live in it, and how I love in it. And if I can tip the scale even one percent in favor of JOY- over sorrow and sadness, then I’m succeeding. And I’m tipping that scale- and it’s more than 1%. (A lot more.) It really is. I’m finding much JOY, LOVE, and KINDNESS everywhere. I loved Joe as deeply as I thought I could. And still, it wasn’t enough. All of that love poured onto him wasn’t enough to keep him here.
The pain was too deep. Love could not cover it.
And that’s heartbreaking… because a love like that… well… all I can say is…it was good. It was so damn good. Many times I thought we’d tapped out—couldn’t go any deeper, and yet we did; we went deeper than I ever thought possible. I didn’t know how we could love any more than we were. How many times did Joe ask, “How is this happening? How can we continue to get closer?” But we did.
So when you think you’ve gone all the way- that you have nothing more to give— dig deeper— there is more! There’s still more. VULNERABILITY. Keep going there.
We are not responsible for the decisions and choices of others. I am not responsible for the choice that Joe made that day or any other day (unless it was a decision we were making together.) I do know that. We cannot walk another’s path for them. I have no idea what Joe’s job here on this earth was; I only know that it’s over.
But mine is just beginning.
Yesterday I woke up and decided to take a break from my phone, FB, IG, all of it. I didn’t wanna talk to anyone—just for the weekend. I wanted to turn down the volume, all the chatter, all the noise. (Not my music though.) I notified a few friends and family so there was no worry. And then I turned on my music and took off walking.
I hadn’t listened to Rascal Flatts in forever, really. Joe and I went to see them in concert several years ago- we both loved them. But OMG- the words that I heard in my ear, the way the music was speaking to me. This was a magical day. (Yes, I’m that woman on the beach dancing like nobody’s watching-and not caring if they are. I’m emoting and letting EVERYTHING move through me. I’m singing out loud and dancing even louder. I’m crying; shedding the pain. I’m laughing, remembering the good times, and thinking about the new ones to come. And I don’t care what anyone thinks. They have no idea what’s going on in my heart.)
This is only one song, out of MANY from Rascal Flatts, that spoke to my heart.
I hope that if anything I have to say speaks to you that you will leave a comment here, instead of FB. I know it’s easier to comment there, but nothing is censored here, and FB doesn’t own this space.
XO, and peace. Always peace.