Sunday, October 21, 2012

Craziness escapes from photographs.

The closer it gets to "those dates." The worse it gets. The memories, the questions, the grief.  I was online today and a family member posted an up-close picture of Pete. Its a beautiful picture of him. It captures his smile and his laughing eyes. However, I wasn't expecting to see his face and all the sudden there it was! It was like a punch to the gut.  It stole my breath. I almost dropped the computer and burst into a million tears.  It's unimaginable to think that seeing his picture could cause that kind of reaction. His beautiful laughing face., full of so much happiness and joy. I marveled in looking at his face and pictures of him and I together when he was alive. 
   Right after he passed I could NOT look at his pictures at all. It hurt too much. It made me nauseous. At the funeral home they had this huge life size photo of him. And I couldn't even look at it. It made me want to run around screaming.  I mean. I am sure that if I did, no one would have blamed me for doing that. But I couldn't move.  In many ways after seeing that picture, I feel in this moment that I have lost him all over again. Why does it have to be this way? Memories that flood my body and make it impossible to do anything but weep in missing him. I had hoped that by three years I could enjoy looking at pictures of him and sharing "good" times and stories together.  And I can, normally.  But since it is about a month until the Angel versary, and only a few days from the anniversary of him going into the hospital.  I can't seem to do any of that.  
     A friend of mine made photo albums for the kids, full of pictures of Pete and the kids and I.  I remember when she asked me to get some pictures together for her. I made myself do it because I knew how much the kids would love it. I could only glance at pictures of him. I ended up just handing her a box of pictures and said "I can't pick out any, feel free to just put which ever ones you think they would like." She made such a beautiful album. When she first gave them to the kids they really couldn't look at them either. Aryanna flipped through the pages, mumbled a thank you and put it on her shelf in her room. However as time passes she brings out her album more and more. It comforts her and she remembers moments when they were together. The pictures make her laugh and she remembers the fun things that we did together. I am forever grateful to my friend for so many reasons, but also for making these amazing albums.   The other night after I tucked the kids into bed I went back in to check on them. I found Aryanna asleep with hers. It was open to page of him with her sitting on his lap. It was propped up beside her and she was on her side. She had fallen asleep looking at a picture of him. I closed the album, pulled the covers up over her shoulder, and prayed that he came to visit with her in her dreams.
   I don't know why I had expected that at three years I wouldn't hurt as bad. I mean yes, in lots of ways We don't hurt the same. I think most widow's would say, that it truly doesn't ever go away. You just learn to live with the pain. And that's truly it. I have learned to live with his loss. And My kids have learned to live with his loss.  Everyone's grieving process is different. No one can ever understand your exact pain. But with grieving comes understanding for the other person's pain.  Like when I hear about a person who has lost a brother, or a parent, or even a grandparent. I have learned to be honest when I give my condolences. I usually say that while I don't understand your exact pain, I can sympathize with your loss and I am sorry for your pain. For each person grieving, the memento that they can't handle is different. For me it is a photograph. While others, only want to surround themselves with their loved ones pictures.
   I am grateful for all the lovely pictures that we have of Pete. I hope that someday I can pull out those pictures of him in frames that we had on our walls when he was alive. Someday I hope to surround myself in his handsome face again.  To look at his pictures  in length. Taking in every aspect of it. The place where it was taken, and why.  For now, looking at our children with his eyes looking back at me is enough of a reminder that he was here.  The memories I have of him in my mind, his eyes, his laughter, his smile. While this time of year is full of unexpected Craziness. I know that I am blessed for everything. His life, his love, and even tragically, his loss.  It was his life that blessed me. It was his life's exit that changed me. While I miss him every day with every breath. I have learned to live with the pain. Aryanna, Petey, and Chase Leo have learned to live with the pain. We don't want to, but we know in our core that he would want this for us. His life taught us to live.

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