5 years, on I still cry. I still have to be wary of this time and my coping mechanisms that crop up. I need to make sure I'm checking in on myself and my sensations. My behavioral warning signs; indicators I need to allow time for memories and reminders to emerge unbeckoned.
A colleague gifts me coloring book, and I remember you teaching me how to color between the lines.
Facebook starts with it's 5 years ago today posts and I see you face by surprise some mornings.
But mostly as we reach this anniversary, it's your voice I hear in my head more clearly. The conversations, the encouragement, the laughter. The moments of clarity where you guided my life. The stern talkings to after not being my best. The gifts, the hugs, the never ending support.
I wish these were things I could share with my loved ones more openly. To talk about you and of you with candor and expression. That tears weren't so frowned on and grief not something to be avoided, brushed over and away as an inconvenience.
This hard stuff that they call the ups and downs of life we so blatantly ignore so as to not feel the pain, the anguish, the sorrow. The uncomfortable emotions that society tells us aren't valuable. They're not instagramable, or story worthy.
They feel uncomfortable in the body. Like when you stub your toe and it throbs for seconds afterwards but it feels like it's never going to stop. There is something about physical and emotional pain for some of us, that makes it feel like it will never ever end. When we're sick we can't imagine a time when we will feel well again, and when we're sad we don't think we'll ever feel joy.
So we push it away and we avoid it, and in doing so we can no longer talk about it, or share it. The discomfort becomes locked away inside of ourselves, for us alone. A private discomfort, a brave face, the "I'm fine" persona. And because we are hiding it, there is shame. We may not recognize it, but it's there.
Even writing this post, and putting my work out into the world has an edge. I want to change the stigma and attitudes towards grief and pain and loss, and that act feels uncomfortable. But I know I no longer want to pretend that everything was okay, or that I've moved on. And I don't want anyone else to feel like they have to either.
If you're passionate about speaking on loss, or want to talk more about your own experiences, please feel free to reach out to me.