How can I protect my heart and my soul from the pain and grief associated with my memories? My 'former' life? I can't just cut my family out of my life, nor do I want to. I can't pretend those years never passed, or the painful memories never happened. How did I survive as long as I did? And why?
Going back to my small hometown was hard this past weekend. Seeing Matt living out of a motel room breaks my heart, yet I know it's not my fault. No job, no driver's license or car. I can't help him at this point. I bought him groceries.
I saw and talked to Andy's Mom. Andy shot and killed my youngest son eight and a half years ago. It was an accident. Andy is struggling emotionally with his memories and grief. We cried. My instinct to comfort was totally off balance. How can I possibly reach out to this young man? How? Why?
I went to the county High School and picked up a 2002 Yearbook that someone had donated to me. It contains a memorial page with pictures of Tim from age three, up to ten days before his death. I cried. My heart hurt, as it hurts now. I will always be aware of a hole in my heart just as Tim suffered.
The hard fact is there is no 'protection' from my memories. The truth is I don't want them to be erased. I am now able to embrace my 'former' life, as well as the life I live now. I have accepted that THIS is my life. I am who I am because of both my 'former' life and the life I live today.
The pain and grief that accompany my memories parallel the joys and love that I experience every day. They are all a part of ME. I am in love with Dave. I live my life with no apology. I embrace the opportunities that life now hands me, and I accept the responsibilities that sometimes cause me anger or resentment. I would not know what to change if I could. I tried that for years, and it only caused me illness.
How did I survive for all those years? Not for me to figure out. Why? Does it matter?
What matters is that I am alive and I want TODAY to count, for myself and everyone else in my life.
My armour is my awareness, my health and my willingness to continue to learn and grow.
I am thankful.