This journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
If I keep my eyes focused on the miles I’ve yet to trod, I can be discouraged and tempted to give up.
But if I think about the miles I’ve covered and the progress toward healing that has occurred, I can gain strength to keep on going.
That’s not going to change.
I have mountains yet to climb. I won’t always be victorious-I’ll suffer setbacks.
But today, I’m celebrating several small victories:
I spent two hours laughing hysterically with a friend over lunch.
We were so loud and having so much fun that the wait staff was undoubtedly convinced we had enjoyed a liquid lunch although we didn’t drink anything stronger than water. And it felt GOOD.
I am teaching again.
Since I was a little girl lining my dolls up for pretend school, my heart has been inclined toward teaching. Through the years I’ve taught Sunday School, seminars, parenting classes, speech classes and my own children from kindergarten through high school. But it’s been awhile-a long while since I’ve had the energy to be the focus of a room full of people. It’s just a small class on Sunday nights, but it’s a start.
I cut my hair.
Now, you are wondering how is that a victory? But in the throes of despair after Dominic left us, I vowed that I would never cut it. Because (this is the biology nerd in me) my hair contained the only cells in my body that would not be shed and renewed. I wanted this physical part of me that existed when he was still here as a reminder of just how long it had been since I hugged him or heard his voice. But the other day I knew it was time. So before I could lose my nerve I did it. And I’m glad. He would definitely approve!
I baked shortbread for my mother’s birthday.
Family celebrations are still very hard. When we are together, the hole where Dominic should be is that much more apparent. And shortbread was one of the only things that could tempt my fitness fanatic son to break training and indulge his sweet tooth. So I haven’t made it since before he left us. But it’s Mama’s favorite too. And I’m learning to experience these memories wrapped up in doing things we did BEFORE as a blessing instead of only as a painful reminder that Dominic is gone.
You may be very fresh in your grief. You may despair of ever making headway toward healing. You may FEEL like you will ALWAYS be held under the tidal wave of sorrow.
It does seem that way for a very long time-longer for some people than others and definitely longer than we would hope.
But please be encouraged!
Your victories will look different than mine, but they will come. If you face the pain and do the work grief requires, you can begin to heal.
No, you will never be the same.
I don’t want to be.
Burying a child has taught me many things for which I am grateful and the pain I carry is a testimony to the love I have for my son.
But I am learning to live again.
One small victory at at time.