Getting Back to Life
The years spent tending to Taylor and then grieving her death were largely spent in the hospital or at home. After Taylor passed away, it was really hard to resume a new normal life and be out in the world after so many years of an interior existence. I felt like my world had been knocked off its axis while everyone else was just fine. Even once I was ready to venture out a bit, I found reentry overwhelming.
An unexpected meeting in the grocery store aisle could ruin my day if the other person expressed grief about Taylor or asked a few too many questions about how I was doing. If I saw someone who hadn’t known that Taylor died, I had to go through the story, comfort the other person, and somehow keep myself together. I just wanted to buy groceries.
There were times that I thought I was up to going out, by the time I got there, my mood evaporated. How could I tell a friend in the middle of lunch that I had to go home? Facing crowds made me self-conscious, exhausted, and wanting to skip the get-back-to-life plan.
But life needed getting back to. I had two children who needed me, friends who loved me, and years of life ahead to be made meaningful.
It was not easy, but I did make it back to the real world and found my new rhythm. Events that unraveled me before do not faze me now. While grief is still with me, I have more energy for and a greater thirst for activities. It has taken a long time to be comfortable in public, but once you do it enough times, you stop thinking of it as something to be conquered.
Grief and joy can coexist. When your world feels dark, a little sunlight goes a long way.