When you experience the loss of a loved one, or you go through an enormous challenge in life, there will always be ‘the before’ and ‘the after’ – ‘the rose’ and ‘the thorn.’
Sometimes, you compare how your life was before the event…in contrast to how it is now….
And I think grief or hardship, manages to rearrange your thoughts and change how you look at life.
Over time, it redirects your emotions and priorities from the unimportant stuff to what really matters in the big picture. Like leaving those dirty dishes in the sink for just a few more hours…. :)
It also changes shape from a massive inconceivable event, that overtakes your life…to one where, eventually, you evaluate, you adjust, you absorb, you analyze….and you learn to cope with things…that would’ve upset you some time before.
And I don’t’ know if it’s just me, or if this is part of a grief phenomenon….to compare all the time….to draw comparisons from the before and the after?
Last Thursday, I dropped Dempsey off at the school gate, headed to the gym for a workout and then returned home for a shower. When I got upstairs I noticed my bed had been made…I scratched my head, stared at the neatly made duvet, and the pillows sitting perfectly in place…I honestly thought I was going crazy! I couldn’t remember doing it.
“Maybe Peter did it?” I thought to myself. (which would be a bloody miracle as this has never happened in over 20 years.) :)
That night after school, Dempsey asked; “Did you notice your bed this morning Mummy?”
And it clicked, the penny dropped…”Did you make Mummy’s bed Precious?” I inquired, surprised.
And with a huge dimpled grin, my gorgeous little girl said, “Yes, its Random Act of Kindness Week at school Mummy!”
I grabbed Demps in a big bear hug, made a fuss and told her how sweet it was of her to do that!
It made my heart surge with love and pride. Something so simple, yet it meant so much! So I told her I’d return the ‘random act’ and let her choose where she wanted to go for dinner because Peter was travelling with work that night.
Dempsey chose Lucille’s, a rib restaurant which has become her new favorite.
Sitting across from her at the diner an overwhelming sense of adoration washed over me….I suddenly noticed she’s growing up so quickly, and seems to be changing…or blossoming, right before my eyes.
I felt this amazing rush of emotion, I wanted to capture the moment, so I grabbed my iPhone and took her photo…of course with Demps whining..."Muuuummy do you have to!”
And in my mind, like I always do, now…..I started to reminisce and compare…to the thorn, and the rose……….
I thought about how she’s just a bit older than my nephew Alexander was when my sister was killed…and whether she’d be able to cope if it happened to me?
I compared her to Savannah, wondering what Savannah would look like now if she was sitting next to Dempsey?
I compared her to my nieces…how they are almost 12…and I wondered how more beautiful she’ll get when she reaches their age?
I compared the noisy family of six behind us with our family of three…and wondered what it would be like if Savannah was alive and there were four of us?
Maybe it’s a survival tool I use, a technique to deflect my grief, or categorize and sort it into some kind of functional practical device so I can absorb and survive it? I’m not sure, but I do it all the time……
And yesterday, the Gardener’s have been in our yard, sculpting…or butchering Savannah’s sacred rose bush. They’ve stripped it of every leaf, every rose and every thorn!
And I was mortified about it…but….I didn’t cry like I would’ve a few years ago!
Again, I compared, how I can cope with things like this….now, as opposed to ‘before,’ where I would’ve been devastated…..
I was still pissed off, and I’ll be leaving them some detailed ‘instructions’ next week. :)
But the comparison made me realize grief does change and become manageable as the days move forward. It has to.
Like Savannah’s rose bush...after you’ve been decimated by an event….you do regenerate, you grow and you compare. You discover you too can be revived…and your thorns, or your grief, can change and bloom into roses someday….just as Savannah’s special rose bush will again……….
I’d love to hear if anyone else does this…the comparing, or some obsessionisms as I call them…that grief creates??
Or maybe, it’s a Libra thing….and it’s just me and I’ve learnt to compare the roses and adjust with the thorns in order to blossom….
Ps; Today on this Valentine’s Day my thoughts are with anyone who’s missing a loved one. I hope you have a happy memory you can call up to fill your blue cup with sunshine…or chocolate you can indulge in…..even if it’s only for a little while..... x