7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, 604,800 seconds.
August is hard, but this week is harder.
My nights are sleepless, but my days are exhausting.
All the days, all the hours, all the minutes and all the seconds, seem to tick by slowly.
I live with this every day.
So why does this week bring such acute suffering?
Why is one week so different from the 51 others in a year?
What’s in a week?
I think there is an energy left behind from a moment; an energy that evokes emotions and memories. This week carries that energy. I can feel it sitting on my lungs, squeezing my heart and pulling the oxygen from the room.
As the months and years pass, I am learning about my grief. What it looks and feels like, what tools help me move along with it, and so far each of the past 3 years, this week has been my greatest teacher. I
know think I know how I will be and I am learning which things I would like to counter and which things I would like to let unfold the way they will. I am learning what I can handle, as far as outside stresses are concerned, and what things I need to clear away.
So I started clearing.
And I let go of things that no longer serve me. I let go of things that I can hold on to every other day of the year (for whatever reason), even if those things do more harm than good. This week gives me the courage, even if it’s only out of self-preservation, to let go of those things, for now, or for good.
And it clears my heart and my mind so that as these days unfold, I can learn, I can grieve and I can remember in whichever way I choose to.
But, with all of those rose-coloured realizations, I know that there will be unexpected emotions and unexpected pain. There will be days that no matter what I do, no matter what tool I think I have, nothing will be able to help. So on those days, with my whole heart, I will surrender.
Because grief doesn’t know time.
Because grief doesn’t listen to reason.
It is all-consuming. all-encompassing.
And when it demands to be front-row-and-center, I will let it.
But grief isn’t always unwelcome. Grief is a reminder, not that it is necessarily needed, that you loved; That someone existed. And even though it breaks you, grief is there, like an old friend, reminding you that you had something that was worth breaking for.
I look in the mirror sometimes, or walk into my home or into my office, and I don’t recognize myself or my life. Some days I can barely stand to look. Some days I get so fucking angry that I am where I am. That I am doing what I am doing, when 3 short and excruciatingly long years ago. I was where I was. Doing what I was doing. And it was better than this, because I was with her.
3 years before that I was feeling her wiggle and wriggle inside of my belly, wondering who she would be. Wondering if she would have my eyes or my smile. Wondering what she will want to be when she grows up and how many wonderful things she will accomplish. And In those moments, I could never have imagined I would be saying goodbye so soon.
3 years can change a lot.
In my selfish heart I would give anything to re live any of her last moments. Any minute of any day. But in my mama heart I know that I would have done the same as I did 3 years ago. I would have whispered that it was okay to go. I would have sung her favourtie lullaby and read her favourite story and snuggled in bed until she was gone and her body was taken. I would have said “I love you” over and over and I would have slept with my hand on her heart, waiting for the stillness. I would never have asked to prolong those days. Because no matter how badly I wanted her to stay, I wanted to protect her more. and in those moments, my last job as a mommy, as her mommy, was to let her go and send as much of my heart as I could, with her.
So what’s in a week?
7 days of remembering what it felt like to have her hand in my hand.
168 hours of closing my eyes to picture every detail of her face.
10,080 minutes of hearing the last words she said to me and
604,800 seconds of feeling her heart beating against the palm of my hand.
one moment at a time,