Grief is the last act of love we can give to those we’ve lost. Where there is deep grief, there was great love. So every day we wake up needing to prove how great our love was. Without realizing, we’ve picked up our rose tinted glasses, forgotten the realities of a relationship, the ups and downs that were once crystal clear…and we’re beating ourselves up for choices we can’t change, things we did or didn’t do, things we said or didn’t say. So much guilt. So we tackle it tentatively. One step at a time. One day at a time. One hour at a time. Every 10 seconds. Suddenly it’s been a year.
Saturday marked a year, since my little sister chose out of this reality. Flash backs to that phone call. The same surreal disbelief I felt then. At a loss, as to what I ‘should’ be doing and clearly, not ‘better’.
What if I don’t cry? Does that mean I’ve forgotten? What if have a good day? Does that mean I’m happy she’s gone? Should I go out? Should I stay at home and watch a movie? With chocolate. Jemma loved chocolate. But what do I watch? No, not a comedy. I shouldn’t be laughing today.
Blobbing on the lounge, I started to fall asleep. Startled awake, I was annoyed with myself. ‘Today is important. It’s been a year. And you’re going to sleep through it?’. Truth. I’m exhausted. My mind is crazy at the best of times, and that’s okay. It’s a colourful, creative place but three hours of broken sleep each night, really isn’t working for me. I need to sleep. I need to switch off. Press pause. That’s exactly what my body was asking for, and I said no. I made it wrong.
Heaven forbid, I choose anything but miserable turmoil on February 6th. Or at all, from now on? Is that fair? Is that really what Jemma would have wanted? She’s happy now. She’s okay. And regardless of our ups and downs, we were sisters…there were ups and downs… Was she asking that I never smile again? That’s ridiculous. I know it’s ridiculous, but every day, I’m torn between how I be and how I should be. Who even knows? Is there such a thing as ‘better’?
A whole year. And I woke up on Sunday, expecting I should be fixed. Surely, I should have my shit together by now. I don’t. Some days I think I do. Some days I think I’m smashing it. Creating something amazing - something me - something my heart knows is true. But some days, I’m here. Some days I wake up feeling like someone else. Like the frightened person admitted to hospital 6 months ago…who handed over her necklaces, ‘to keep me safe’ they said. Some days I pick up the phone and just cry, releasing more in half an hour than in hours and weeks of counselling. I’m not back at work. So I’m creating. I can’t stop. Keeping busy, not sleeping, every moment, pushing myself. Avoiding myself. Justifying to myself, that where I’m at is okay. It’s been a year, but it doesn’t feel like a year but rather a couple of months. That’s not a long time. Is a year a long time? Too much time?
Shayna is a happy person. Full of joy. She loves to laugh. Loudly. She smiles with top and bottom teeth. She wears bells on her ankles and goes to coffee with no shoes. She’s there. She’s still there. She’s hurting. Some days, she won’t laugh as loudly. Some days she’ll wear sandals, to cushion the bumps. She’ll need help. She’ll ask for it and that’s okay. Some days she won’t create anything. She’ll eat cake. She’ll watch Twilight and fall asleep at lunch time.
Bad days are okay. Good days are okay. What would it take to follow a good day with a good day…or just a day…not a bad day, hating yourself for taking a moment to smile. To enjoy life. You feel guilty for being happy. You feel guilty for being sad. Grateful for the friends who are listening, who love you – you feel guilty for putting this on them. But it’s their choice. They can leave, and if they want to, they will. That’s not up to you and it’s okay. You will be okay. Would you feel guilty if you lied to them? Truth.
So what would it take to be honest? To be you. Happy. Sad. Good. Bad. Magic. A mess. To just be.
Beyond judgement. No rule book. No time frame.
‘You’ve been through some of the darkest reaches in life, sometimes feeling that coming out from them has made you more inept than going in. As you question your choices, doubt has been the shadow companion cast beside those struggling steps just to make it. So take heart weary one, you walk a noble path. You’re treading within the divinity of what you are becoming, where in the face of uncertainty your authentic heart and sense of deep purpose reflect the light of your higher self. It takes some time to figure things out…and you will get there in time.’ – Susan Frybort
I didn’t do a lot on Saturday, but I made it to Sunday. Andy and I went to the beach. We had dessert before dinner. We ate pizza on the grass. I drew in the sand and let the sea breeze destroy my hair. I wrote a song. For Jemma. The first complete song I’ve ever written and it was effortless. It fell onto the page and then from my mouth. Not perfect, but real. Honest.