I’m still struggling, but I know I have to step forward on a path I wouldn’t have considered six months ago. Because it didn’t exist six months ago.
The rest of the world is business as usual. People all around me are walking on the paths of their choosing. I feel like half the time I’m desperately searching for mine. The other half I’m desperately afraid I’ll actually find it.
I would give anything, anything to have my dear, sweet, loving husband back, but that isn’t possible, and that leaves me with a choice: to step forward or to stay stuck in the past.
I can stay in this cycle of grief; I can give up and only look backwards. Or I can decide that grief 24/7 – forever – isn’t for me or for anyone. I can decide to take tiny steps forward. For myself. For our kids. For our grandkids.
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I choose the latter.
I will never (not ever) forget the years we had together. I will always (as in the infinite always) love you. I will see you and be with you again. You will be there to greet me. I have no doubt about that. You are watching over me now. I trust you are. I talk to you daily. Our love continues to grow. I feel your presence, and I know you are near.
But I can’t live in the past. It hurts too much, for myself and those here who still love me.
We had a great run, you and I. (I take delight now knowing that you understand why I chose "I" over "me" in the previous sentence. Grammar gurus we both were. I loved that about you.)
I’d live my life with you a second time in a heartbeat, even if I knew the outcome. You were my everything. You still are. You always will be.
But now I have to step forward into the unknown. The path we’d chosen, the path we’d planned on, the path I thought was cemented in stone no longer exists. It is gone.
I have to create a new path, even a new me. I have to forge new relationships and do the things you always used to do for me. I have to push myself and challenge my comfort zone.
You were the second half of my whole; that will never, ever change, but there is room for more living. And I have to pursue a life that goes forward.
Oh my goodness do I wish it included you. With my whole heart, I wish that. But wishes are for the foolish. Faith is for the goodhearted.
I have faith. I have faith in the future. In my future. I have faith in us. We will be there forever, for the long haul. Forever and always. I believe that to the core of my being.
But there is a reason why I am here and you are there — there are probably many reasons. And, if I am to fulfill my own destiny and purpose, I have to continue living here on this earth. Fully living, not just existing, which is what grief wants me to do. I have to step forward, sometimes inches at a time and find my new path.
I know I have your support. I know you will walk alongside me every step of the way. I know you visit me at night when I sleep. I know you will hold my hand when I am afraid and that you will send me songs and birds and squirrels to touch my heart and buoy my spirit. I know you are rooting for me. I know you want me to do this — to succeed. I know you love me, now and forever. And you know on my end that’s a ditto. A big fat unequivocal ditto.
Here we go. Let’s do this.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.