Four weeks ago, we (Dan, Faith and I) were stripping our beds and packing the last of the kitchen to move ½ mile down the road. Fueled with a bagel sandwich and an awesome piece of crumb cake, we worked alongside the movers until beds were made and the kitchen was unpacked.
Around 5pm, we sat down as a family around the dining room table to give thanks over pizza. It was then that I “hit a wall.”
That “wall” is probably why I haven’t posted since then. The truth is – I have hardly written about my grief for the past month. Not even in my journal. Instead I have plunged into the FX series, the American. I have slowly worked my way through Frederick Buechner’s Crazy, Holy Grace. And I attended the last several weeks of a Grief Share group.
We also celebrated Thanksgiving, our first without Pete. Two days after Thanksgiving, I celebrated what would have been my 22nd anniversary by distracting myself with friends, art and the Christmas spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.
In have settled into my new bedroom. I have tickled my grandchildren, talked and laughed with my stepchildren, and along the way have happily absorbed as much oxytocin as I’ve needed.
For me, this first year of grief has been one with lots of movement. I wonder if that’s what I needed. Sure, moving is hard; it’s jarring. But I’ve been such a gypsy most of my life (that’s what Pete used to say.) We moved so often when I was a kid that the most settled time in my life has been married to Pete. The last 22 years of my life has been incredibly settled.
But now? Now I feel unsettled. It’s interesting that this is corresponding to the season of Advent, a time in the Christian calendar when we prepare for the coming of Jesus. For me, this Advent has been one of being honest about who I have been and what I have done. This season has been imagining who I am becoming and what I might be about to do. Advent is not just a season of passive waiting for Christmas but rather active living.
Pete, in a world that is not mine, is getting to live the most true life he has ever known. This side of heaven, I am seeking to live the truest life I know in tandem with him… still very much connected and even covenanted to him. (I have been joking lately that “at best, I am married to a dead guy.’) I still feel very much married. And so in response to the life I think Pete has, in response to the beauty that he comprehends, I am putting one foot in front of the other… to live. To live as fully as I know how.