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I have a churning ocean of grief just beneath a solid surface.
Each day, I hope that I appear relatively normal to people who don’t know, but I can’t be sure.
I can still feel my wedding ring on my finger. Actually, I can feel it on my finger and in my heart.
I know that sounds super dorky, but it’s true. It’s like there is some kind of finger-to-heart connection that I don’t really understand. And it sucks. Big time.
Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is remind myself that he doesn’t love me. It helps with the questioning that starts soon after—how I got here, what the heck happened, and how I could have missed such a big sign like not being loved.
Where I grew up, as soon as winter freezes the lake, ice fishermen are on it. They drill a 12-inch hole through the ice to fish in. Overnight, the hole skims over with just a thin layer of ice.
When it is really cold, more layers form, and the fishermen have to drill through again.
When I was angry, my grief was like lake water beneath the solid ice—it couldn’t surface. Less angry means less ice, and that means that the grief is closer to breaking through.
I work in an office with an open concept; it’s impossible not to hear the conversations of other people.
I can be typing away, completely focused on school improvement and leadership development, and then someone will start talking about something that they did with their husband or their family. That’s when the ice chipper starts breaking through the skim of ice. I put in headphones, but every song is a pickax at the hard surface. My eyes well up, and here it comes.
I keep thinking it will get better, but it doesn’t. The loss gets more focused and more defined as the metaphorical ice thins.
To combat the sadness, and to face myself in the mirror each day, I focus on gratitude. When I start to look down into the hole of grief, I bring myself back and make myself find three things to be thankful for.
Right now, I am grateful for my dog, who is laying next to me as I type. I am grateful for my boys, who are an incredible gift of love each and every day. I am grateful to be able to share my story, if it helps someone else know that they are not alone in their grief.
Winter is over. Spring is finally here. It’s time for the ice to melt.
“From love’s cold constraint
Shedding the shackles of grief
Ice drifting downstream” ~ Paul Callus, Spring Haiku
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