For months now I’ve had this word pop into my head. Precipice. I don’t even think that’s a commonly used word, is it? It would pop in my head in quiet moments…driving in the car or just when I'd be at the brink of falling asleep at night. This obscure word just there, looming.
I’ve always had anxiety. Always worried about any and every little thing. One element of my personal brand of anxiety makes me believe if I worry about something or say it out loud, that prevents it from happening. Because what are the odds my crazy thought comes true if I said it? (This may err on the side of OCD but that's a diagnosis for a different day...)
I have feared whatever the precipice meant for months now...just couldn't shake this feeling that I was balancing on the edge of this scary place I never asked to be.
Then, my sweet, angel of a mother-in-law passed away suddenly. Though we lived through it and were there to see it happen, none of it feels real and all of it feels entirely, and unbearably wrong.
I have never lost someone close to me until this and for that I am grateful...a gratitude I didn't know I should have been carrying around with me before this but now I do. Grief is not just the result of losing that person, but realizing you are losing a part of yourself too. You are now forced to live with the reality of being without the person you lost and what that reality will make you become in their absence. That truth affects you to your core and instantly changes how you view and navigate the world.
For me, that is the hardest part to grasp - the memories that won't get to be made. I am grateful my husband and mother-in-law had the best possible relationship. He'd call her to check in every night. Usually when I would hop in the shower he would give her a call. It always made me smile that he took the time to do that. I loved her for caring so much, always wanting to know even the smallest details of his day. I am grateful my son got to know her and be loved by her so deeply. But my heart is broken for all the days lost, the days coming that even when filled with joy will always be tarnished with varying degrees of sadness too.
Grief is not just how you are feeling now, its knowing that the pain here isn't temporary. The loss of someone is crushing. It's a jolt, a punch, a harsh and quick period at the end of sentence. Grief though, that is what lingers. Grief is heavy and unforgiving. It sneaks up on you the second your brain allows you to let it leave your mind. It's knowing there will be birthdays, holidays, celebrations...and just the simple mundane moments where that person's words, love and light are needed and they will just not be here. It is the sadness of the loss that creates the hole of grief in you, and that grief has already claimed its stake on each of the moments you wish they could be here for in the future.
And, while I have come to this precipice, stood on the edge and now find myself falling into this abyss of grief, I know sadly there is no bottom, no end. There will just be getting used to the falling, hoping some days it feels slower than others, less heavy and dark, giving us the chance to grasp on to the things and people that bring us joy, and hopefully teaching us to hold onto them tighter.