Sometimes I am asked by others on the grief journey if it ever gets easier. I am not sure, even after 9 years, how to answer that question. I usually respond my rote response; “It never gets harder.” I guess that is because I am not sure if “easier” will ever happen and I am not sure that is even the best word! I don’t know what it would mean to be easier and I think that straddling heaven and earth is not ever meant to be easy.
Easier is a really tricky word because death of a spouse is so permanent. It is a really good word when learning a skill and practicing it over and over and the progress can be measured. The reality of grief is that it is always there and it will never be easier to live without my best friend and life partner. At the same time it will NEVER get harder than Nov. 5th, 2010.
Grief is different because it is not linear. It is learning to tread water and sometimes being overwhelmed by the surf and taking in huge swallows of water. I am overall managing each day better than the day before and the days and weeks have turned into seasons and years. But, that does not mean that I no longer am sucker punched by waves of sadness that knock the wind out of me.
Easier is not the right word for me; instead I think it is different. It used to feel like a constant hail storm and now it is softer at times and louder at others. It has become unpredictable too. I like the quieter days with some sunshine and light breezes when the remembering is nice and the pain is less. Grief evolves with time.
The thing is that life is still beautiful. Jim lives on in memories and in the children he raised, in the spiritual children he mentored and in those who he raised up in ministry. I am reminded of the movie, Coco, and the importance of keeping memories alive. Death is not a bad thing but just a reminder that we live in light of eternity. Additionally, family matters, listening is important and it is never too late to forgive!