I think it was somewhere around two months from Dominic’s departure when my heart realized life was moving forward whether I granted permission or not.
Not only folks on the fringes and the “bigger world out there” but close by-in my own family, my own circle of intimate friends-people were making plans, having birthdays, going places and doing things.
I wanted to scream.
Could the world not take more notice that it was absolutely NOT business as usual? Was I the only one whose heart was so shattered that the thought of another sunrise was painful? How could I walk into a future that didn’t include Dominic?
By the grace of God, I did it.
No one can keep the world from turning, the sun from rising, time from ticking by.
But it took a great deal of strength and courage.
First it was a “grin and bear it” kind of courage. I strapped on my armor and tucked a hankie in my pocket. I could show up and smile (a bit), talk (awhile) and muddle through.
Sometimes it didn’t go so well. I had to apologize and leave early. And I was always exhausted.
Then it was an “I’m going to be present for my family” kind of courage. The last thing I wanted to do was shortchange my earthbound children. I worked to get a better handle on my thoughts and emotions. I learned how to pre-grieve major events and milestones. I found I could bring Dom with me by wearing a meaningful piece of jewelry or tucking a keepsake away where I could touch it if I needed to.
I was able to laugh (most of the time), make small talk and write dates on the calendar again.
Now the courage that helps me hold on as I’m pulled forward into the future is informed by the fact that every passing day is one day closer to the reunion my heart longs for. What first seemed impossible is now habitual. Sorrow and joy can coexist. I don’t have to be empty of one to feel the other. The future is not my enemy-it’s where I can and will love ALL my children, husband, family and friends well until the day we are in eternity together forever.
My love for Dominic is Background Music to everything I do. But it doesn’t always demand my full attention. Sorrow is no longer all I feel and Dominic’s absence no longer all I see.
Sunrise is still hard to face some days.
My heart will always long for the time things were as they should be instead of how they are.
But I’m thankful for the courage to step into the future even when I’m afraid.