Like all people, I am lousy at keeping them.
I will vow to write more, but I am unlikely to follow through.
“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”
Eliza. I do. Just today I told someone who never knew him about how much he hated when people put their windshield wipers up on their car in preparation of a snow storm. Only a few hours later, a friend of his reached out to me to share a post about someone not understanding that practice – and how it will always remind her of Tim. (Because it snowed today.) Yes. That. He hated that. And he hated pie charts.
I will tell his story.
But my 2020 resolution is simply this: I resolve to fell less guilt.
Guilt runs in my veins. Catholic. Female. Not-quite-millennial. Whatever it is, I feel all the guilt. Like most mothers, I am sure, but extra as an only parent.
I resolve to remind myself that anything I do to take care of myself and be more physically and mentally healthy – is as a byproduct healthy for my children, and I do not need to feel guilty about it.
If someone – even if it is my children – look and say, Damn, she’s selfish…. This is not a thing I need to worry about. If I reach that point – I will have arrived. I have resolved.
This weekend I sorted Tim’s t-shirts into shirts for several projects people have offered to do for me/us. Pillows, stuffed animals, quilts. I am very grateful. These will be wonderful legacy projects. And honestly, I can’t bring myself to get rid of any of his things. At least not now. Not yet. There’s no reason to, really. I did move all his shoes from the front closet. To make room, and to not hear my children tell me we should throw them out again. But the shoes are just hiding in my room. The t-shirt projects are a good reason to DO something with some of his things. At least to start thinking about it.
I worked on the t-shirt sorting while my sister was here, because I thought I needed someone here. When I put my sister on dear-God-get-her-to-sleep duty, she was gone for a bit while I sorted t-shirts, and looked in his closet. As I looked up at his clothes, I was overwhelmed with the thought: This is it. This is all that is left of his life.
I pulled myself out of that deep dark hole pretty quickly by reminding myself that most importantly, what is left of his life are those three beautiful loves of his life, and of course, me.
Here’s what I know though. And what I need to share with you if someone you love is ever in this deep grief. I find silver linings as often as I can. I give myself those pep talks, those reminders, as much as I can. But if I had needed to just wallow in the sadness in that thought for a while, alone, when I didn’t completely need to be functional, then that’s what I would have needed. No one else reminding me that his 3 children are what’s left of his life (not his belongings) would have helped. I find silver linings as often as I can – but I have to be the one to find them. If someone points them out to me, even if I know deep down they are absolutely right, I want to punch them.
It is essential, to let the person in pain, find the silver lining herself.