I’m a strong independent person. I always have been and I don’t think that will ever change. I pride myself on my strength and resilience. However, there are days the grief is so strong I can hardly breathe. On those days I often find myself asking “Was this worth it?”. Those are the days the grief feels like a ton of bricks that’s just slapped me in the face, knocking me to my knees with no hope of standing back up. An unmanageable grief that consumes my day like a rainstorm rolling in and flooding after something triggers a memory that cripples me in my tracks.
And then there are days the grief feels almost manageable. Like an ankle weight, just heavy enough to know it’s there but it doesn’t slow my days down. On those days I find I’m able to place my grief to the side. Basking in the happy memories of love, not the painful ones. Sure that I would be willing to do this 1,000 more times if it meant I got to share that love with Dakota again. To have the giddy feeling in my chest when he would walk into our house after a long day’s work. Or just to have him sit with me and watch one of my ridiculous shows while he rubbed my back with my head in his lap. Even if it was just for that short time again. Positive it is worth the pain to have loved and outlived you than to have never been blessed with unconditional love.
I’ve had many people explain grief to me as an ocean, however, I’ve recently determined grief is much more like the desert than it is the ocean. The desert is so much more peculiar. Dry, extreme, barren except for the cacti that cover themselves in thorns to protect them from their environment. That right there should tell you what you need to know about the desert, even the things that grow there need protection to survive. Widowhood feels about equivalent to the desert. You feel dull, except when you feel the extremes, and you feel pretty alone. Your once smooth skin is now covered in thorns to help protect you from this new world you live in. The harshness and extremes of the desert go hand in hand with grief.
Those days the grief is unbearable are like flash floods. If you’ve ever experienced one in real life you understand exactly what I mean when I compare grief to them. The ground isn’t prepared to suddenly absorb all of this rain (emotion) and it runs everywhere. Flooding things for as far as your eyes can see. A flash flood of pain, and you can’t imagine how anything is going to be okay when you’re knee-deep in water, cold and empty.
Suddenly though before your eyes the water goes down and things begin to grow and bloom. The once barren desert is filled with green and flowers, that have just started showing up everywhere. No one talks about finding joy again after loss, and they should. Joy is those flowers that show up after the storm. It’s a completely new feeling of joy you never knew you were capable of feeling. Pure euphoria, so pure you wish you were able to jar it up and save it for the next flash flood. That’s not how it works, unfortunately.
There will be another flash flood, I can promise you that. They however, begin to become easier to handle, as long as you remember the flowers, the joy, that feeling of love and captivating bliss. Losing someone changes you. It changes you in ways never imaginable. Both grief strikingly sad and in ways that makes you feel emotions like I never thought possible. Sadness, happiness, joy, love, I feel them all so much deeper now. I wish I could have experienced this with Kota by my side, I miss him and I’m never going to be okay with that. But when I wake and the sky is gloomy and I know there is a flash flood coming I can imagine all the flowers that are about to bloom and how when I wake tomorrow the desert will be green.