Growing pains are hard. They hurt and exhaust you and make you bitter. Growing pains makes you selfish and tune out others whom you normally would engage. Growing pains is part of grief.
Growing during my grief has stretched my emotions to levels I have never felt before. The agony is inside my soul, a place never touched so deeply before, and it spreads throughout, banging on my heart, my head, in my belly. It renders me useless for a time as I collapse into guttural sobs, asking God, the Universe, why. The answer of ‘there is no answer’ does not give me any comfort, yet I know it’s the only one.
It amazes me how one minute, one hour, one day, I can be okay, even good, then the next one minute, the next one hour, the one day, I can be completely destroyed. Grief lulls me into a deceptive feeling of semi-normalcy, only to shake me up with its brutality, scattering me everywhere. And yet, I continue on. And yet, I grow.
Last week, was a difficult one for me. I began another journey. I started to release anger toward Peter. I started to let go the frustration of the things left for me to deal with. I began my good-bye speech to resentments and moments unfulfilled and those pesky, reoccurring arguments never resolved. I opened a window to show all of my negative fury an escape.
I know anger is part of grieving. It’s necessary, or so I’m told. Sometimes, you need to face the whole, especially in a marriage, which includes the not so nice things because marriage is not perfection. And I did that. I faced my perceived imperfections of him, of me, of us in our marriage. I held onto all of this for a long time because anger is controlled sadness, right? And God knows, since Peter died, I’ve had so much sadness. But last week, I started to see anger as a hindrance, not a help. And when I did, I freed up some space to receive all that was good in Peter, in us. But it was painful.
During these nearly past ten months, I have blogged and talked about how much I missed Peter and everything about him. And I meant all of it. I still mean all of it. In honesty though, I also held onto a lot of anger toward Peter, anger I didn’t want to share. For as raw and honest as I am in this blog, in life, I am also cognizant on how much words can hurt. I certainly did not want to hurt our children or his family by airing my grievances and my anger about a father, a sibling they love. I made a choice when I started this blog to concentrate on me and my feelings. It’s not my right to spew negatively about another based on my perception and experiences. (Okay, maybe Donald Trump, but that’s it.) Besides, now, looking back, maybe even during, I know some of the anger was misplaced and/or, for a lack of better word, stupid. It was anger I placed on him, on our marriage, because of my dealing with all that was happening to me. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now, because I am starting to let go of my anger toward him. And, maybe, by this starting point, I start to move past the grieving stage of anger. Oh, I’m just at the beginning, but at least I’m in the wings.
Anger is easier to feel. It takes away some of the pain of moving on, maybe the guilt. But by doing this, it begs the question of who really grows in anger? My mom once told me after I threw a tantrum that rivaled a two year old the night before I moved out on my own, she understood. She said it’s easier to move away when your angry. It’s harder to move on when you see the good. And that’s where the pain came for me last week.
As I looked among photographs, as I sat and stared out my front window for hours on a rainy day, letting all the projects begging to be done to slide away, I thought about Peter. I thought about the good in him, in us as a couple. I thought how the two of us believed and valued the same core things. I thought how mutual decisions made in all our years together were to benefit the family because the family was our priority above all else. I thought about how our similar backgrounds steadied us, grounded us, and gave us our understanding of each other. And among my thoughts, my stares out into the rain, I appreciated my attraction to him, my draw to him, what kept me to him. It was not just the physical – although, I mean he was sexy as hell – but I realized we belonged together. We were meant to be together on a level so deep I am still trying to unravel it all. It was these thoughts that slowly began to release some of my built up anger and sent me crumbling.
See, pushing ahead of the past filled with good is an indescribable agony understood by those who have face the same challenge. The pain of growing while appreciating and loving and respecting all you had is harder than the anger. Anger will hold you in place one or another. As long as you have anger, you hold onto whatever is left. Releasing the anger means you are releasing all the good, all of what you loved, and that my friends, fucking hurts.
I grew a lot last week. I grew because I embraced all of what Peter was to me, all that we had together. And it was good. It was strong. It was loving. It was right. It was the best part of my life. And it was painful. For I knew, with every embrace, there is a letting go period. And while it felt soooo good to weaken my anger and letting in the beauty of Peter and our lives together, I also started to understand the finality which was hard and painful. It sent me into a two day depressed state, one I still am in the midst of having hangover from. Yet, it is all necessary in order to grow. Growing pains are hard, and I am little pissed off by them.