Words. This is the most difficult post to write. Not because it’s emotional or painful…. but because it’s distinctly not. I’ve stopped and started four times, and have been trying to string together my disjointed thoughts for a while now. Months.
There’s a lifetime of experiences to articulate. Packed in the last two years. The past few months. The last week. I don’t have the language to string it together. Things aren’t flowing; experiences are being stored somewhere that my vocabulary doesn’t seem to have access to. I need a translator, or some sort of emotional ex-lax.
One of my proudest accomplishments in life is designing the headstone for my husband’s grave. It is also one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.
How do you adequately honor someone’s entire life- someone you know so intimately and whose life you’ve wrapped your own around- on two feet of stone? What inscription can possibly to envelop the accomplishments, the processes, the influence, the complex and deep relationships of one man’s life? How do you honor a life knowing that the one you want to honor will never view it? Who is this really for, and what inscription can possibly hold space for everyone who sees it?
Julie, my incredibly wise and dear friend/counselor/spiritual director/mentor who met with me weekly for a year and a half after Sean died, suggested that perhaps the limitation makes the words more profound.
She was right. Eventually the words came, and with the relief came a sense that those words acknowledge Sean’s life and honor who he was.
I feel a similar angst now, as I did before the words settled.
It’s tempting to nurse my feelings of loneliness and isolation that allow me to pat myself on the back for getting myself through this. In reality, the depth of gratitude that I have for so many who have walked with me -even carried me- is enormous.
I am myself, and experience the loss of Sean uniquely. We forged our lives together and my sense of self and purpose were buried safely in that life- almost a living, breathing thing itself that died with Sean. But I can’t pretend that I’m doing this alone. I can’t ignore God’s movements in my life that have taken the form of so many wonderful and caring and wise and supportive and loving people. Of learning to see myself honestly. Of new purpose and passions in life- passions that came out of the experience of being so not alone in the depths of grief.
Words. I can’t give shape to what life looks like now, as I feel so disjointed and disconnected, piecing life back together with parts that are the same, yet look and feel so different. The process is frustrating and awkward and unsettling, and I think as God leads me through it, the words will come.
The beauty that I held on to and revered in the last two years now seems dull. I can still see it and acknowledge it its existence, and I’m also starting to understand there is more to it. There is more haze in myself to stumble through, and perhaps the cloud is thicker than I realize.
Under all the cloudiness, disconnectedness from myself and from my life with Sean and from God, there is something alive.
Underneath, a small current pulling me toward the one who creates beauty.