Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Living in Color

Monday, November 18, 2013
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Halloween marked one year since Aric left this plane of existence. One year of going to sleep in an empty home, hoping to see him in my dreams—and in my darkest moments hoping not to wake up at all. One year of waking up to that same quiet emptiness. One year of falling asleep with my hand on his urn at my bedside—love my last emotion as I drift away and my first as I awake.

I’ve learned to live in a quiet stillness that never existed while Aric was physically here. I am quiet, still, understated. Aric was loud, animated, exuberant. We were a yin and yang in perfect balance. When he left, that balance toppled and I was left in my own quiet stillness, left alone and unsure, and scared. I was so scared. As C.S. Lewis remarked, “No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.” When Aric left this world, fear took hold of my heart with a ferocity I never imagined possible.

I have cried more tears than I realized a human body could produce. I have relived the last 36 hours of Aric’s life countless times, berating myself for the things I wish I had done differently. I have lived with a perpetual knot in my stomach that has repeatedly brought me to my knees and has torn wild screams from my throat I didn't know were possible.

This pain is unimaginable and seems unendurable. It stops your life in its tracks, the world suddenly ceases to move for you while it seems to move at an accelerated rate everywhere else. It weighs you down physically, each movement pushing against unseen but very real resistance. It clouds your vision with a palpable film, turning a world of once vivid colors into a muted grayed existence.

And yet, here it is a year later and I continue to endure. My world has resumed its movement and continues to change. At times the pace of my brain still seems out of whack with the rest of the world, but the gap is not as frequent nor as pronounced. Instead of giving in to the weight of despair I have found healing through physical activity: yoga, weight training, running. And through meditation, friendship, and lots of love, the gray film has started to lift.

In our everyday lives it is difficult for us to see our own transformations. This is always true, even under the best circumstances. When getting through each day, sometimes each minute, is a struggle, it can be almost impossible to perceive when the minute-to-minute becomes a little more endurable.

But, I know I am slowly healing. The ache of losing Aric is always with me, but the color and vibrancy of life he so loved is starting to filter in. On the morning of October 31st I drove from Chicago to Cleveland to spend the weekend with Aric’s family. As I made the drive that morning, I took note of the glorious fall colors along the route, and it struck me that I had made this same drive at the same time last fall, and several times since. Yet I could not remember any color whatsoever. Certainly it was there, but not for me, I could not see it. And, in this small shift from dreary gray pallor to vibrant shades of red, orange, gold and green—I saw my own growth and a semblance of healing.


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