Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Grief Feels Like: (Like It Used to Be)

There are so many things I could write about with the amazing turnout for Donuts for Dan - but, I feel the need to write about what I am currently feeling. The reason why I write about my feelings is because I don't have a therapist. :) Writing about my feelings helps me process them: to think about, recognize, and voice them. Once I can give a voice to my feeling, I can release it. That feeling no longer has a hold on my mind or my heart.

Here's the deal with grief...or maybe my deal with losing Dan. It doesn't always feel real. I have had many people tell me that losing their spouse was like losing a limb - like losing a part of themselves. But, honestly, I haven't felt that. ...until now.

For the first seven months, I have felt the loss, yes - but not the loneliness.
I have described it as feeling held, loved - complete. I have felt so much this sense of being buoyed by hope. The waves may wash over me, but I am still floating on hope.

But now, I feel the ache of loss so much. All it took was for someone to see me - the woman not the widow...and in the wake of that reminder of what it feels like to be recognized as someone who is vibrant and vital...I feel like I have drifted farther out to sea. It brings to reality the fact that I had someone who saw me and loved me, someone to whom my presence brought life and light to their life...and the reminder that it is gone.

It super sucks.

I have written before that sometimes Dan speaks to me in song. He started this when we were dating - creating a playlist of (mostly) love songs for Valentine's Day 2010. The first time I listened through this playlist, I realized that these were the songs of Dan's heart for me. He wasn't the most romantic or verbally expressive - but, he had the gift of finding the right song for an occasion.

I thought that the 2 playlists he made for me were lost when my iPod didn't make the move from Arizona. My original iTunes account was connected to my iastate email; I forgot the password; I had a bunch of complications with my i-account when I got my iPhone, long complicated story short: I thought it was lost.

And in the last few months, I have lamented the fact that those movers stole my iPod and my Dan-playlists. But, the Sunday before Dan's birthday, I opened up my old computer and searched through folders of my songs saved from my iTunes account to salvage what I could find. One of the songs I'd bought (even before dating Dan) opened up in my iTunes account!

...and there were my 2 Dan playlists!

I spent the entire day listening to Dan's heart for me and making art. It was beautiful because I needed to be reminded.

Today, while I was working, one of the lines from a song from Bedroom Music 1 (it's such a Dan name for a playlist) kept playing in my head. "Baby, put on your favorite dress and just let go; we'll go downtown, stop at the first bar we see; yeah, we can throw it down, hot baby, just you and me."

I couldn't figure out why until I played it longer in my head: "we'll shoot the lights out, no one else can see - yeah, we'll close our eyes and wish it was like it used to be."  ...and that it is what grief sucks. As much as you know that life in the valley of the shadow of death is still life, and that it can be good, fulfilling, purposeful, hopeful, and loving - you just want to close your eyes sometimes and wish it was like it used to be.

I was never very good at dating or being single, but I'm pretty good at being a wife, and a friend, and a helpmate... Yes, maybe someday in this life I will be loved again and love again, but for now, I wish it was like it used to be.

Like it Used to Be - Randy Rogers Band