Have you ever had one of those days where all seems well and, without warning, you run straight into a wall of grief? I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And it never ceases to surprise me.
I’m amazed at how the smallest thing can trigger such a big wave of grief. You may notice someone who resembles that person you’re missing. Or maybe you hear that certain song on the radio, or you spy that particular hat he would have loved. It could be stumbling upon that familiar place, only to realize it’s not the same without your loved one there with you.
Or perhaps it’s that dreaded date on the calendar. The one that marks another passing month, one more year gone by, or some other significant event without his presence. You see the date approaching but try as you might, you can’t pause time or skip over it. You must face it, whether you’re ready or not.
That’s how it is for me today. It’s been three years since my brother passed away. His death was unexpected. Had I known it was coming, I would have said so much more. I would have asked for one more hug, and I would have cherished it. I would have stayed by his side until the very end. But I didn’t know, so I failed to do some things I now wish I had done. Sometimes it still bothers me.
I hate that we didn’t share a last goodbye, but I am comforted in knowing I will see him again. Yes, when my life here is complete, he’ll be waiting for me inside heaven’s gate, grinning from ear to ear. That’s good to know, especially on days like today.
So when grief suddenly grabs hold of me, I will allow myself to feel its presence. I will use it to unlock my deepest thoughts of that special person. I will smile, and possibly even laugh, at the memories that flood my mind. No doubt I will shed a few tears as well. And I will most certainly mention him in a conversation or two because it’s important to me that his memory be kept alive.
When I am ready, I will carefully shake myself off and continue living this life to its fullest without him, knowing the best is yet to come… knowing that one day those last goodbyes will not matter because we’ll be saying hello over and over again for eternity.
That, my friend, is what pulls me through on the hardest of grief-filled days, and it’s what keeps me living even when grief takes me by surprise.