One excellent description of this ache comes from my friend Jordon, a fellow grieving sibling who lost his brother in 2002. He says: "For years, I have likened this loss to having lost a leg, and people are surprised that I am still limping."
How fucking true that is! I feel like I'm limping through life on a daily basis.
Jordon also passed along a quote from writer C.S. Lewis, who wrote about losing his beloved wife:
Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he's had his leg off is quite another.... He will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it.... His whole way of life will be changed.... At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.Shit, I know how that feels. And yet I'm very proud of myself and my family for pushing ourselves every day, for making a conscious effort to seek out simple joys, for embracing people and experiences that make us smile and breathe and enjoy our brief time here.
Deep grief is life-altering in ways I never could have imagined. And yet, as my sister pointed out when we had a fabulous time together at a wedding two weeks ago, it has motivated us to relax and to "go with the flow" more easily, to enjoy ourselves more and to not take life so seriously. Of course, this presents a conflict in my confused mind, particularly at times when everything feels overwhelmingly serious due to the horrific losses I've been through. But I try, try, try!
We are coming up on a year since Jason's death and I am in the early stages of moving forward. I miss him desperately and I miss him and Amir more and more every day, as the gap between them being here and them being gone stretches wider and wider. But I find reasons to smile each day--even when a memory shoves itself into my mind unexpectedly and my heart sinks, I push myself to turn a moment of sad remembrance into a smile. Though tinged now with melancholy, the inside jokes and funny moments are STILL funny and I try hard to embrace that.
Managing grief is a huge effort every day. It's no wonder I'm exhausted every night and fall into bed as if I'd spent the previous 14 hours doing strenuous labor. It's an exhaustion of the mind. And even though it has not let up, I force myself to squint into the future, at the bright light that is most certainly ahead, albeit dimmer because of who's missing from it.
So... I wake up every morning, shake off the dreams of Amir and Jason that visit me every night and conscientiously push myself closer and closer to that light.