It’s a very strange thing. Before you enter this new uncharted world, you believe that you understand. You don’t. You can imagine all you want what it is like to lose your loved one but, until the very moment they are taken from you, you’re never going to fully understand this pain. You can’t.
Grief is wanting to call your person & realizing you can never call them again. It’s re-reading all of your Facebook messages to see how many times in those messages you told them you loved them…& still wondering if they knew. It’s listening to saved voicemail while smiling & crying simultaneously. It’s looking through all the comments on your profile pictures to see what they’ve written under each because you know they’ve commented on nearly every one (sometimes twice!).
A lot of it also encompasses wishing for time travel to tell yourself what you know now, that you’d better attach yourself to your person while you still have time because, soon, there won’t be anymore. .no matter how badly you want there to be. It’s regret. A lot of regret.
There have been so many regrets. Regrets that I did not go home more, did not stay long enough when I did. At one point, my biggest regret was that we chose to do two respite placements for weeks at a time that kept me at home when I could’ve spent time with mamaw. I could’ve enjoyed the last two months of her life with her but, instead, I was tied up at home with foster children who weren’t even our foster children. And I got really mad at myself…until I thought about who mamaw was & what she would’ve wanted.
Grief is the most awful thing for so many reasons. It makes you question everything. Did they know I loved them enough? Should I have made different choices? All the while knowing, whatever answer you arrive at, isn’t going to matter at all because, at the end of the day, they’re still going to be gone.
My mamaw was one of the most phenomenal people I have ever known. She was like a married Mother Teresa who smoked and cussed a lot. She was the kind of person who fed and housed homeless people in her home. She was the kind of person who would have wanted me to take in children who did not have families to love them (while feeding them entirely too much food). And she was the kind of person who wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad for a single second since she has been gone….but we all know that’s a pretty impossible feat when losing someone you love so much.
So, at the end of my day, I have to hang onto the lyrics of The Dance.
“& now I’m glad, glad I didn’t know.
the way it all would end, the way it all would go.
I could’ve missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance.”