Drummer chose me in January 2020, right after my Sonny died. My young, 40-year-old husband, Sonny—the one to be the father of our children, the one to console me after my own father died in 2017, the one to console me after my mother died in 2018, the father to the child we tried to have via IVF in 2019 who died, too.
So much had died: people, hopes—a whole life trajectory was gone. My past and my future, my parents and my husband: ended. The marriage I’d prayed for was over. Till death do you part came way to soon. In December 2019, Sonny died two years after my father and one year after my mother. It was a grief trifecta as three main pillars of my life were gone, back-to-back, in three years. I became a parentless widow at 37 years old and was not ready for 2020.
Who knew months into this unforgettable year the world would be going through a global pandemic? I was already going through a grief pandemic. Yet, there I was, moving through 2020 with purpose. The purpose at that time was just to get up every morning. Sometimes I would shower, and sometimes I would do my hair. It absolutely depended on the day and my mood. The advice that everyone gives you after you lose someone is always, “one day at a time,” but honestly, it was one second at a time for me. At some point in 2020, that progressed to one moment at a time, a very slow progression.
So, in January 2020, I found myself at a non-profit organization that rescued puppies. I chuckled to myself as I walked in saying: “Who am I going to rescue here? I need the rescue—this is a joke.” I busted out in laughter.
“So happy to see your excitement to get your puppy today!” one of the workers said, “Right this way.” She leads me to a room full of tired dogs. Yes, my kind of energy. Tired and lethargic were my middle names back then. As I was perusing the room for a dog that matched my vibes, here comes the most hyper ball of energy from around the corner with a toy in his mouth. He dropped it at my feet and put his paw on my sneaker. Nah, this can’t be my dog, he’s too…much…
Here we are almost four years later; Drummer and I are cuddled up watching my new husband play video games. If this dog is not the fun, he is around the fun or trying to find it. Drummer has reminded me that I love to have fun and be the fun. His silliness revived my humor. He helped me see me that although life can hurt, it can also be so beautiful. I’m a licensed therapist, but he taught me that healing is not linear. I do not need to push through pain, despite what I have been taught culturally. I can pause, recognize the pain, then keep going when I feel rested enough to stay the course.
Drummer has also shown me that grief is multifaceted; I can hold space for both sadness and joy. Life is dialectic because there are two very true things always happening at once. Those two things include validating the space I am in while growing. It is truly essential to learn to dance with accepting reality and changing. I must remain committed to learning how to hold space for the good and the bad because they are both part of life. Once I see the balance, I can learn how to truly live.
I have learned not to take any moment for granted. One part of self-care is learning to shift the dialectic—to learn to live in the “and” and no longer the “but”, so I can change the moment toward fully living.
There is joy in the journey of grief too. Drummer has been one of those joys during so much pain, a teacher through times of loss and a reminder to be proud of myself for constantly looking for the rainbow when it is raining. Thank you, my sweet boy.Leave a Comment