I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had a serious illness or major operation, or any other traumatic physical malady. I’ve never suffered any physical affliction that required months to heal or physical therapy to get back on my feet, nothing that required patience and hard work to regain my strength or mobility in order to return to normal. So being consumed by grief and having to work through it for more than a year is something foreign to me. Working with a therapist to help me slowly make my way back to normal is something I’m unaccustomed to. I’m not a patient person, and I’ve rarely had to be; as a result, I’ve been impatient with the whole grief process. I found myself wondering month after month, how long will it be until I feel normal again? How long will it be until I get used to living here alone? How long will it be until he doesn’t consume most of my waking thoughts, until the memories of absolutely everything we’ve done together start to dissipate?
Then, today, when I woke up, I realized I did not look over at the empty spot in my bed and start to feel the sadness overcome me. My first thoughts this morning weren’t of Rick. When I went to bed last night, I didn’t cry myself to sleep because I longed to hear him softly snoring next to me again. I didn’t hug my pillow pretending it’s him. And that indicates that I’m far, far ahead of where I was last year – or even a few months ago – on this long grief journey. The memories still come and I imagine they will for the rest of my life. Some bring sadness, some make me smile. But the gut wrenching pain they bring is mostly in the past. This morning was very different from the mornings of the past year and a half. This morning I woke up realizing that I’m mostly done being consumed by grief.