“Honor the space between no more and not yet.” It’s a quote I have pinned on my Pinterest board called “Words.” It seems as if I have to let these words, any words actually, seep into my brain before I can actually acknowledge their meaning and what their message means to me. So in my current state, I think this quote is appropriate. Since my goals are in the realm of moving forward or moving on, and as I’m not really sure yet which one will be my reality, I also know it’s a work in progress, as am I.
So as I appreciate the message of “honor the space between no more,” which clearly refers to my past life, and which truly is no more, and the space that I am yet to occupy, or maybe trying to occupy; I’m really not sure what to call it or what label it should be assigned. But as I ponder this sentiment, I think that maybe I like the idea of trying to “honor the space of not yet” – at least I think I do. A few months ago, I hit an unusually rough spot. I was surprised by the intensity and the resurgence of grief that was reminiscent of the earlier years after Wes passed. It actually scared me, a lot. But I am considering that this intense grief episode may have been a lesson. I’m beginning to hate these lessons, by the way. And this last round of grief was of the suffocating kind, before you pull yourself back up and make the declaration, that I just simply can’t do this anymore. This last time was tough because I have moved past some of the rawest pain and grief of the earlier years. But, by being confronted with it again also came the realization that I am not in the grief and shock bubble anymore. Without that to insulate me, I am wide open and I have realized I’m not conditioned to go back to that emotional place again and stay. Not for long anyway and maybe not at all. So the lesson becomes – if I don’t want to do this anymore, or I can’t do it anymore, then what do I do to stay out of that place and shoot for that next plateau? I think I need to consider “honoring the space of not yet.” This is difficult because I haven’t wanted to move on and have been living in the years of magical thinking and trying to continue living my life as if Wes was still here, but he is not. Not anymore. So now do I consider, and do I even want to consider, “honoring the space of not yet.” I absolutely did not want to before, but now – maybe I do. Truly, this new outlook is taking some time to assimilate, but of course, it is more of the same message that I have to move forward or move beyond. I’ve actually been trying while also trying to stay cemented in my past life. That’s because I loved it – my past life, that is.
While in this emotional downturn, I went back to see my grief counselor. While there, we discussed the anger that I have been hanging onto since Wes died. I’ve been hanging onto it like a rope – a lifeline, and wearing it like a shield. But unfortunately the anger has been as tough for me as the grief. My anger at God for taking Wes has literally held me hostage for the last five years as it has truly held me in the same spot for as long. But as I lost Wes, I also lost my faith, both the bedrocks of my life. Going to church or listening to any God infused conversations left me reeling. I mean really – how good can this guy really be? He failed Wes – and that’s all I need to know. Personally, I think God made a mistake. That’s just my opinion. But dealing with the fact that Wes was tortured emotionally and physically has truly been more than I can handle. To sit on the outside of that, of cancer, that is, but yet still close enough to touch it, is a rough road. It’s rougher still, to sit at the bedside of your loved one and watch the suffering of the one you are there to protect. That was our commitment to each other, after all. So through it all – I turned to anger. An easy enough outlet, but in reality, not so easy after all. As I have pushed forward to gain control of my life and my emotions, I have stayed singularly in a stranglehold of my anger. Grief is like walking through peanut butter but anger is like walking through life with a ton of bricks attached to your ankles. Just keep pulling it along, because it’s all you know. In my case, it became safe – a safe place and a safe emotion for many reasons but also because it showed my unwavering dedication and loyalty to Wes. Maybe that’s what I told myself. I’m angry because I love him. I’m pretty sure that’s what I told myself. But I did, and I do love Wes – forever and ever. So anger came easily but as it built up and kept me secluded it also has kept me stranded. Of course, I think Wes should have been the miracle. Again, that’s just my opinion. Certainly not more than a six year old child, and Wes would never think that or want that either, but I get to feel this, no matter what anyone says or thinks about it. I get to be angry, at God, and at the world, if I want to – and apparently, I do and did. But maybe, this too is getting to heavy to carry. I’m pretty sure it is. And although I’m stubborn, and I don’t want to give into this massive injustice that has happened to Wes – it turns out that it is just really unhealthy for me to carry it around any longer.
So in my session with my counselor, we discussed my anger at God. As we talked, I continually looked up at the ceiling when referring to God. She said “why do you keep looking up at the ceiling when you talk about God?” I said, rather sheepishly, “well, that’s where He lives, doesn’t He?” She said “but why aren’t you mad at cancer? I said “ I am, of course I am.” To which she replied “ok then – why can’t cancer be up here where you think God lives, and God has been sitting next to you the whole time?”
As the tears came rolling down my face there was a sense of relief. Almost immediately. Anger is a tough animal and a destructive one too, no matter what disguise you put on it. I have a right to be angry over Wes’ passing but there has to be an end to the anger or it holds you in one place. Static and stuck. And I’m getting pretty tired of the stuck place, for so many reasons. And as I move forward from this seemingly simple revelation, I feel lighter. In my heart and in my soul, I feel lighter. So as I let my counselor’s words penetrate my course exterior and as I try to assimilate their true meaning, I also have to figure out how to translate this new revelation into momentum to now be able to “honor the not yet” and look at that with enthusiasm instead of dread.
I ask myself if I’m ready to take God back – like an old, lost, but trusted friend? I’m thinking – maybe. I think I do, anyway. And as I contemplate where this will take me in terms of anger management in my day to day, I think I’m ready to say “hello, God – are you there?”