Grief is hard. And strange. And unpredictable. Just when I think I’ve figured this journey out, even just a little bit, it takes a turn and smacks me in the face with a new wave of emotion and reality. Always at the times when I least expect it.
It’s interesting because when I think about this new life, I’m acutely aware of the moments that I know will be hard. His birthday. Our anniversary. Every holiday. Big first moments for the kids. And the whole month of June. Our last family vacation was in June. Father’s Day is in June. Seth died in June. As a dear friend said to me recently…”F— June.” And I pretty much go into the month knowing that it’s going to suck and be filled with raw emotion and memories that will make me miss Seth even more than I do every other day of the year.
While I’m learning to prepare myself for the hard moments that are expected, I’m continuing to learn that it’s the unexpected triggers that hit me the hardest. The moments when I don’t even realize how hard they will be until I’m in the middle of it. And find I am knocked down with a deep sadness and emotion.
I remember not long after Seth died hurricane season started and there was a big one headed towards the east coast. As I watched the weather channel coverage, I found myself getting so sad. Not just sad that possible devastation was headed towards to coast, but a deep sadness in my heart. I couldn’t figure out why, until I realized it was the first time a major weather event was happening, and Seth wasn’t here for it.
Seth was a weather enthusiast and he loved watching The Weather Channel. Even bought a car with a weather band radio built in (which I think was really the only reason he wanted that car). Anytime a weather even was happening, he was addicted to the news. Followed the story and always reached out to friends who may be in its path. A total unexpected trigger.
I would think that nearly three years into this journey, I would be ready for these unexpected triggers and moments. That I would know they are bound to happen. But I’m still finding that I’m never ready for them. And may never be.
Most recently, I was planting flowers in pots to place on my deck for the summer. Something I hadn’t done in years. Now that that the kids are old enough to help me pick the flowers out and water them all summer, I thought it was the perfect time to do it. Time to bring some beauty back to our deck. As I was planting these beautiful flowers into their pots, I found myself getting mad, and upset, and overwhelmingly sad. I couldn’t figure out why I was getting so annoyed with something that I used to do every year and looked forward to doing.
I then sat down and realized I was doing it alone. With no one to help open the bags of potting soil and tell me how beautiful each finished pot was. Or give me advice on which flowers to plan together. Something that Seth always did. He usually was mowing the yard while I would get to work on the pots and would finish up and tell me how great everything looked. And how beautiful the deck was with all of the freshly planted flowers.
I realized again that something I was looking forward to doing knocked me on my feet. So, I sat down and cried and let the emotions flow. And while I was wiping away my tears, wondering why I had to do this alone, my son came outside and sat on my lap and said, “Mommy, your flowers look beautiful” and my daughter soon followed and marveled at how beautiful they were as well.
And I realized that while these moments are going to continue to knock me down, I need to keep moving forward. Knowing that Seth is still telling me he loves me. He’s just doing it in other ways now that he can’t do it himself.