Those Facebook memories get me every time. Some days I’m able to laugh and sink into a joyful memory, but honestly, some days they rip me wide open.
It’s been two years since our last pictures were taken together, two years since her last trip to visit us on the farm.
It’s been almost two years since she headed into hospice, honoring me by allowing me to be with her til her final breath.
The pictures that pop up today are of us being uproariously silly during a drive to our mountain top hangout space.
Uproarious was kind of our thing, it’s what we’d done best for 40 plus years as best friends and soul sisters.
She was slower this trip. She was cautious about everything from diet to amount of sleep to how much energy each outing required. None of these things were part of who she was, they were part of the ovarian cancer that also came along for the ride.
This was round 3 of treatment. She came for one last visit, though neither of us called it that.
I’d so desperately needed her here one more time. I needed one more morning coffee chat in the gazebo, one more nap by the pond, one more trip to TJ Maxx together. I needed our home infused with her giggles and snorts and wise words just one more time.
One more, one more, one more…….
She got home from the trip and said that was it, there’d be no more traveling but she was so grateful she’d come to see us one more time. I’d needed it. She’d needed it.
We didn’t use our time together to talk about it being the last trip. We didn’t need to.
We wanted one more late night chat, one more pee-our-pants adventure up the mountain.
I still want one more one more.
What would I say? That I love you? She already knows that.
That I’m loving your boys, your Dave, your folks, and I will til the day I die? She already sees that.
That I’m happy and calm and living life fully for the both of us, taking nothing for granted? She’s still very much a part of that.
That I miss you, every dang day I miss you? She accommodates that regularly through a random dragonfly hovering near, or a double rainbow over the mountain tops, or the perfect light breeze on my skin. She reminds me she’s still here with me almost every day.
Quantam physics tells us that energy never dies, it just changes form.
I need this knowledge in my life.
It is what allows me to know that these “random” events aren’t just wishful thinking.
Physics also tells us that energy begets energy. Terri was nothing if not a burning bundle of pure joy. So I tell myself that the more joy I engulf myself in, the nearer she is.
It usually works.
It sometimes doesn’t.
There are still moments when the heart’s muscle memory of her being here is faster than the brain’s muscle memory that she isn’t, and those moments are the toughtest.
There was a millisecond after receiving the invitation to our son’s wedding that I picked up the phone to see if she’d gotten hers yet, and weren’t they beautiful?!
I had my phone in my hand, finger poised over her name in my “favorites” list, when it occurred to me she wouldn’t be answering, we wouldn’t be squealing together.
Life morphed into slow motion. The instantaneous realization of the realization of reality. I could almost envision Bruce Lee’s best round house kick straight to my gut.
Winded, disoriented I sank to the kitchen floor.
There are no words.
And so this “grief” surfing goes.
Most days I balance upon the waves, going full force with life finding joy and adventure on behalf of us both.
Some days I sink and swim awhile with the sharks.
But I always get back on the board because, really, what other option is there?
I’m careful not to call it grief, because what is grief, really, but the other side of love?
Yes, I’d much rather call it love.
I try not to call it loss because I don’t believe she is fully gone.
It’s navigating a new way of living, and new way of carrying one.
It’s a new way of loving her, because the love doesn’t go away.
Like energy, it never goes away, it just changes form.