A few days ago I posted this quote on my Facebook page - "It's funny how day by day nothing changes, but after a while when you look back - everything is different." I don't know who said or wrote this, but it is definitely true. With the exception of a few days when something specific happened during the last three years, it really doesn't seem like much changed on a day to day basis. But when I look back at the three years as a whole I realize just how much has changed and how different my life is now. Many of the people (family and friends) and the physical aspects (house and job) have stayed the same, but my feelings, attitudes, goals, and relationships have changed. I remember the past and think about the future differently now.
After Eddie's death I heard all of the usual words from well-meaning people ... it will get better with time, time heals all wounds, it will get easier, there is an end to grief ... I didn't believe or even want to hear these things. Surprisingly, though, those people were right and their words have (gradually) proven to be true. Without realizing it at some point the initial gut-wrenching pain I experienced came to an end. The days of feeling like I couldn't even breathe went away. The constant ache in my chest eased. The mornings of not wanting to open my eyes disappeared. Very slowly and over a long period of time, healing has eventually started to take place. That doesn't mean I never have feelings of pain, sorrow, or regret when I think about what happened. I still miss Eddie and think about him every day. The difference now is that the negative feelings come and go more quickly, and the bad memories are slowly being replaced by good ones. "The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end." Isaiah 60:20
I realized just how much better things were when I cleaned out "the closet" a few weeks ago. This was the closet in the guest room where my mother had moved Eddie's clothes to a few weeks after he died. I had known for a long time that I needed to do something with those clothes, but I hadn't been able to make myself take care of it. In some way knowing they were there gave me a feeling of security. I didn't do it often, but I knew that if I wanted to I could go in there and look at them or touch them. In a small way having them here was like having a part of Eddie with me. I finally decided that it would be better for someone else to benefit from them though, so I cleaned out the closet and took everything to a homeless shelter. Some of the clothes brought back specific memories that made me smile or even laugh as I took them out of the closet - the collection from his sweater-vest phase, the brown suede coat that he thought he looked so good in but that I couldn't stand, the western style shirts he was sure he wanted but then never wore, and the Carhaart overalls that really emphasized his ample "backside" (which everyone teased him about). Cleaning out the closet and loading everything into the back of my car wasn't nearly as hard as I had anticipated. I knew as I was doing it that it was the right thing at the right time. The only difficult part was leaving the clothes at the shelter. While I knew they would help someone else more than they helped me, giving them away was like losing another piece of Eddie. Thankfully, the feeling of sadness passed and was replaced with good feelings for having done something for someone else and for taking yet another step toward healing.
"There's no thrill in easy sailing when the skies are clear and blue. There's no joy in merely doing things which anyone can do. But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you never thought you'd make." -Unknown