I can’t believe I am posting this here and sharing all my raw emotions with all of you, but something tells me to do it anyway. Someone needs to hear it. So, with love in my heart and apprehension in my chest I am going to share. Please be gentle. This is not easy.

February 21, 2014
Dear Grief,
You are one tricky bitch. Every single time I think I’ve healed you, escaped you, embraced you, accepted you, sent you packing, you come back for more. Why?! Is this my life lesson? To try to learn your many faces and unravel your unending mysteries? I am tired. I hate you. But, I also love you and I hate that I can say that now. And I hate that I can’t embrace that too. See, I told you that you were a tricky bitch.

Today, it had been 10 years since we started our relationship. I fell head first into you when Trent died. February 21, 2004 was the worst day of my life. I woke up that morning to a phone call from him while he was away on a snowmobile trip. This was back when I had a home phone and I of course couldn’t find it because that’s the way things roll in my house. Anyway, our conversation was over the speaker phone. He told me about his plans for a casual ride with his Dad and friends that day and I told him about our plans to take Carter to his basketball game at school and run a few errands. His last words to me and mine to him were “I love you” and I can still hear them echoing through the speaker phone in our house. Thankful for that. Everything after that point sucked! The phone call learning he was gone. The gut-wrenching and heart ripping feeling that tore through my body. The screams from Carter and Hatty when I told them that Daddy wasn’t coming home again. The sight of my baby boy running through the snow in bare feet to try to run away from what I was telling him. The confused look on my baby girls’ face. The screams of his best friend that still echoes through my ears when he heard the news. The feeling of not truly knowing if I would be able to ever possibly live through the pain I was feeling. The not being able to sleep, the uncontrollable crying, the physical pain in my heart, the pain of waking up anytime I was able to sleep and realizing all over again that it was real. My worst nightmare ever was now my life. And ten years later, my heart breaks all over again for me. For the me I was, for the me I am and for the me that I became in the middle of all of this.

This morning I woke up in tears. Not because Trent was on my mind yet (well at least not consciously) but because I had a nightmare that my husband died. No, not Trent. This time it was Paul. He died doing something he loves to do, hunt. His brother was in the dream too and so was his Dad. He was gone and I wasn’t there. And in my dream Lilly was packing up and leaving to go back to her Mom’s because it was “in the contract”. Again, I repeat…Grief you are a tricky bitch! How can you make my dreaming mind your putty? How can you incorporate all the shattered pieces of my fear that I’ve so carefully tried to put back together and shove them right back into my head and heart in one dream? You are so damn clever. You made them both go away doing their favorite things: snowmobiling and hunting. You put their fathers and brothers together. Oh yes, and my favorite…you brought back my fear of losing my children and slapped me right across the heart with that one. Why? I hate you!
I know why. To remind me that life is precious. That we are never truly healed and we are forever transformed. And that it is okay to be afraid of what scares me. Because the truth is, it terrifies me. I never want to feel that pain again. Thank you for the reminder. I love you.

When Trent died, I swore I’d never take any form of love for granted. I’d always say ‘I love you’ when I felt like it. I’d make love my priority with my kids, my family and eventually with a new partner if I ever had one. I did really well by that promise for a while, and recently I failed. A marriage, 5 kids, a new baby, a dog, a house for sale, a new home, a business to run, a part time job, kids sports, whatever else, and I lost my way. My priorities got out of whack. I started worrying more about my to-do list and my bills than about my promise of love first. Paul has been begging me for a date night and I’ve been telling him that I’d love to just as soon as basketball season is over, things slow down at work, when the baby sleeps through the night, fill in the blank________. What happened to me? How could I forget my promise? I’ve pretty much built my life around it. I’ve even built a business around it. Grief…you are a tricky bitch. I thought maybe you’d left, but you are right here and I think you buried yourself in my busy-ness. And like all things I try to bury, you’ve reappeared and brought your sticky mess with you. I hate you. Or do I love you for the reminder? Tricky bitch!

Instead of fighting you, trying to reinvent you, embrace you, forget you, hate you or anything else I’ve done with you, I’ve decided to just write you and tell you how I feel. I hate you. And, I love you. Thank you for reminding me when I woke up in tears that I had lost my way. Thank you for guiding me toward a long overdue snuggle with Paul. My only safe feeling moment was wrapped in his arms as his heartbeat echoed through my own. Then there was the extra hug when he got out of the shower and smelled like my Pear & Acai Berry lotion (because I forgot to pick his up). Thank you for reminding me that there truly only is THIS moment. That’s all we are guaranteed. I’ve imprinted those feelings of deep love into my heart and my brain today, as I prepare to face February 21st again…for the 10th time. Grief, each year you show up differently and teach me a new way to surrender. I hate you. And I love you. You are a tricky bitch.

I dedicate this day to love.
I surrender to your tricky ways for today.