“Grief never ends…But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.” Author Unknown
This is a fitting quotation for this present period in my journey, for many reasons. First and foremost, over two and a half years into losing Todd, I truly have come to the realization that grief really never does end. It ebbs and flows and does get more bearable over time. While there are some moments and triggers that seem to bring back the grief to a level close to those first few months, those moments and triggers are fewer and farther between. Honestly, it is sometimes depressing knowing that the grief does not have an ending, that it is infinite. Even more disheartening, we all will experience this in life, more than once. Unfortunately, my children and I are experiencing this depth of grief over losing an extremely important person in our lives much sooner than most. But, I have seen people very close to me this past year lose a parent. That is a loss I have yet to endure, but their pain and grief seem all too familiar and my heart aches for them knowing the journey on which they are now.
Yes, my grief has changed in the few short years that Todd has died. It truly is a passage. I have experienced the “five stages of grief” at differnt times and in no particular order. Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are stages I feel I have come to know well. Acceptance seems to be the hardest, especially considering Todd’s sudden and unexpected death. I am a work in progress and I truly feel I am getting there. I know this journey in grief will be ever-changing, as well as ebb and flow at times. I have a habit of feeling weak and sometimes even selfish when I have moments of despair and anguish over how my life has changed so drastically. My children are healthy and for the most part, well adjusted. I have an amazing family and community of friends surrounding me. It could be so much worse and I have heard of widows in worse positions. When this anguish engulfs me, I cling to my faith in God and his plan. I thank God every night for being present in my life. I have loved and lost, big time. I also have regretted some of the choices I have made along the way after Todd’s death, but I know I will always have God on my side and my children’s unconditional love. Sometimes I feel it is all I have to get through some moments.
That being said, I am especially drawn to the line in the quotation that references grief being the price of love. What a perfect statement that is prevalent in both my past and my present. Anyone who has been in love and especially married know that love and marriage are not easy. They take work, but oh, is that work worth it. I will take this grief everyday of my life knowing that I had a great love with Todd. I would rather have a lifetime of grief than not love like I did. A love that created four amazing children and countless memories, even if it was cut tragically short. While I will never understand why Todd was taken from us so soon, I will always cherish the love and memories that were created. Grief is just a small price that I am paying.
However, this understading of the price of love also unnerves me as I move forward in my life. I have fallen in love again, but sometimes it scares me. Is loving again worth opening myself up to the possible pain and grief of losing another person I love? Can I bear that again? Once you lose someone earlier than you ever expected, it changes you forever. An unanwered text sometimes sends my imagination into overdrive and I envision the worst case scenario. When the worst case scenario actually happens to you, it is inevitable that you will sometimes jump to conclusions, however ridiculous they may seem to others. Is it worth it? I think so. Believe me, I have moments where I feel like being alone and raising my kids as best I can would be easier than having those moments of worry and the work of loving another. But that is not the way I want to live, the loneliness is unbearable. I have found love again, something I did not think was possible. Grief is the price of love. The love I feel is worth it. In fact, I am sure of it. Moving forward is challenging for many other reasons beyond opening myself up to the pain of losing again, but love is most definitely worth it. I will end with another quotation that I have come to appreciate these past several months, “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” Elon Musk.