grieving, Jack

this is what the 856th day feels like

I keep waiting for the grief to get to the point at which the low points just never come around anymore. Also: the farther away I get from the day I got the phone call that Jack had died, the more I realize that won’t ever happen. The low points have more and more days between them, but that’s all.

“That’s all.” As if this is a meaningless thing, when it’s not, really. It’s a huge thing. In the first few weeks after Jack died someone would have told me that, a couple of years down the line, I’d have entire weeks when the thought of a Jack-less life wouldn’t suck all of the oxygen out of the room, I’d have thought him a liar. In the beginning I couldn’t fathom even a few seconds when the loss and grief and fear didn’t overwhelm me. That I’ve managed to stumble my way into an existence in which, most days, I’m able to think of Jack with perspective and a smile rather than sobbing is nothing short of a miracle.

When the days do come they are as horrible as ever. I miss Jack terribly; the longer he’s gone and I’m not dating anyone (and no real desire to, either), the more I realize what I’d found in him. That thing you see in Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy films? That’s what we had. It doesn’t come to everyone and it’s not the sort of thing you tend to find via online dating or through getting set up by friends. Or maybe it does. It’s only happened to me once, so what do I know?

I watched this speech Joe Biden gave to people — mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, siblings — related to fallen soldiers. In it he talks about the experience of losing his wife and daughter in a tragic car accident. His honesty about the grieving process was so refreshing, it’s stirred up a lot of grieving in me that I thought had been done.

In the speech, he talked about how you can be going along with your day and something will strike you that brings you back to the exact moment you got the news. And that there will be moments like that forever but that one day the joy of having known the person — and loved him or her — outweighs those dark times. In all the time I’ve been grieving, no one has ever said either one of those things to me, so hearing them accidentally from the vice president of the United States was a but unexpected but entirely welcomed.

The 856th day isn’t anything significant, other than it’s one upon which something — I don’t know what — brought me back to feeling like I did in the early weeks after Jack died. Maybe I was in the sun too long today or pushed myself too hard; maybe it’s the whole moving thing and leaving this town; maybe it’s just grief. Whatever it is doesn’t much matter. There’s no need to analyze it as much as I should accept it and be kind to myself.

There will be days like these, maybe even until I die myself. The good thing is that I’ve walked through them before and gotten to the other side, which means I’ve got a pretty good chance of making it to the 857th day.

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