Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mind The Gap

2017 marks nine years since Ryan died. Nine years of tears, laughter, love, heartache, and a big healthy dose of perspective.

You only live once.

Live in the now.

Less is more.

Follow your dreams and chase your passion.

Make sure those you love know it.

Talk about taboo subjects.

Embrace your values. 

Give thanks and gratitude, everyday.

Over these past nine years I've searched for ways to make sense of what it means to suddenly loose someone you love. I've searched for ways to express that sadness and loneliness around the empty space in my heart with other people who have no idea what it feels like, yet. But there are gaps. A grief gap; a living gap; a what is the meaning of life gap.

I've been searching for answers to the gaps in my life, all my life. Maybe you have too. Gaps exist when you see where you want to be but have no idea how to get from here to there. It's easy to say you only live once. But does that help you dive into something you're apprehensive about? Why do those gaps exist? How can we close those gaps? Do gaps give us hope? Are gaps necessary to help you strive for what you want to become?

I wanted to bridge the gap between experiencing grief and sorrow of losing my spouse and looking at grief as a gift. But I had no idea how to at first. So I started searching.

What I discovered about grief is that everyone processes it differently at different times. I understood that right away when Ryan's mom had a dark immeasurable cloud blanket her movements. Or when an insensitive friend said, "it shouldn't be that bad. You guys were apart most weekends anyway." I had a college friend come visit and stay with me within the first few weeks of Ryan's death and insisted I take down his vibrant pictures I had put up around the house. I could understand if the pictures were morbid and dark - but they were of him climbing and doing something he loved. Why was it wrong to commemorate the person I love in my own home? Was it wrong to miss someone deeply even though we were apart on the weekends? Was it wrong to feel a different grief than someone else? And why does it feel like other people are putting judgement on the way I grieve?

The more answers I found, the more questions I had. I mean really, why hasn't someone written an idiots guide on how to grieve losing your loved one?

I've also come to terms that our language around death sucks. Before Ryan died, I didn't understand how hollow saying, "I'm sorry" would feel for the receiving person. I didn't know what someone should say but I knew that "I'm sorry" wasn't cutting it. What I longed for was for someone to ask me how it happened: why did he die? How did he die? How does it feel to be human?

So, we're left with these gaps in our lives. Gaps that may never have answers. Gaps that may swallow us whole or that might give us hope. And while we may never figure out why those gaps exist or what they're there for, accepting those gaps for what they are is healthy.