It has been almost 8 years since Jared died. Eight years that feel like yesterday and forever at the same time. Eight years and so much has changed. Eight years and I have learned so much.
I have learned I am blessed to have those who are here to help even though they have not experienced such a loss.
I have learned there are those who are thankful they are far away and don’t have to deal with my grief.
I have learned there are those who want to help but don’t know how and are afraid to say the wrong thing.
I have learned there are those that are uncomfortable with my grief and thus keep their distance.
I have learned there are those who think I should be over it by now and can’t understand why I still talk about Jared.
I have learned that some of those I thought would hold my hand during this journey have not and those who I thought might walk away are still here.
I have learned that those who have not experienced such loss can never truly understand.
I have learned that I am not alone and that there is an entire community willing to help me as I walk, run, and stumble on this path.
I have learned that holding the love of your life as he takes his last breath changes you forever.
I have learned that watching my child say goodbye to his father is the moment his life changed forever.
I have learned that grief triggers can come out of nowhere and knock the wind out of me.
I have learned I can smile at our memories instead of just cry.
I have learned that each day I can chose to be happy for today because of the love we shared and our many joyous yesterdays.
I have learned that feeling happy can also make me feel guilty.
I have learned that choosing to cherish Jared’s memory is choosing to keep him alive in the present.
I have learned that I have hope. Hope for a future that will always include Jared. A future where I will make memories not with him but because of him.
I have learned that the future without Jared is a scary place, but a place he would want me to explore.
I have learned that the best way to honor my love for Jared is to teach my son to live, live each day to fullest.
I have learned that I will have bad days. Days where I need to step back and live with my memories so that I can step into the future.
I have learned that I will never be the person I was before Jared died.
I have learned that I can love again.
I have learned that life can be good again.
I have learned how hard it was to be mom and dad. And that I made more than my share of mistakes. But I did my best.
I have learned that death can forge a bond between child and surviving parent nothing can break.
I have learned that grieving and parenting a grieving child is not for the weak.
I have learned that I am more resilient than I ever thought possible.
I have learned grief affects children for the rest of their lives.
I have learned to live again.
Eight years. And I still have so much to learn.