Talking to an old friend today got me to thinking.
Thinking about past mistakes and how they shape our futures, about loved ones lost and missed. About all the things that we wish we could go back and change that we never can.
How do you heal the scars of a past that doesn't want to let you go? How do you move on to a future that you can no longer imagine, one you haven't the strength left to fight for it?
I remember feeling this way too many times to count, and yet, here I stand. Happy, whole, loved. And still I can't, for the life of me, figure out how it is that I got here.
How did I make it past the times when my heart felt like it had shattered in my chest and I couldn't breath, because breathing, living, staying meant that if I did, I would do it alone? How did I pick up the pieces and put them back together even though I lost of few of those pieces somewhere along the way?
How did life go on without him in it? How did I move on when, at the time, it was all I could do not to crumble? How did I get here from there?
Would he be proud of me, of the woman I have become or would he be disappointed in the choices that I have made? And why, after 12 years, does it still matter so very much?
Still, after 12 years, I grieve. Grieve for the parts of my life that he has missed. Grieve that he wasn't there on my wedding day. Grieve that he never met my husband, that he never met my brothers children, that they will never meet him. Never know how special he was. Never know that without him in my life, I wouldn't be who I am today.
And I grieve because soon grandma will join him. And I feel as though I should be rejoicing, for she will again be with her love. She has grieved so hard for so long. Her love for him did not die just because he did.
Yet, no matter how old I get, how mature I may be, I still find it hard to say good-bye, hard to let go. At 28 I still feel like there is still so much in my life that I need her for. So much that I don't yet know about life, and love, and letting go.
And I know now what I didn't know then. Grief never goes away. It may fade for a time, but when you least expect it, it pops back up, and it is like is was the first day. You never know what will trigger it. Maybe a song, a sound, a smell. And it is there, still sharp and piercing just under the surface, waiting for a chance to make itself known.