There are many step, stages and seasons throughout our personal journeys’. The 12 steps are not just for those who struggle with addictions, but rather the foot prints we all should follow in hopes of becoming a better person. I’m certain that if we were to all review and practice each of the 12 steps by the time we made it to the twelfth it would be time to start back at step one. Honestly, the stair way of reflecting and improving is never-ending. I’m starting to accept and embrace it as the stair case to heaven and step 13 is leaping and sliding down the hand rail back to step one reviewing them all once again. Starting over isn’t like a step backwards or starting at the bottom again, but rather a stair step to a better person and those that choose to ride the elevator up and down and not endure the sweat and tears of life never will be as strong as they were intended be.
Over the past 10 months I’ve had to trudged up and down the darkest of dark staircases. I have been forced to go faster and further than I ever thought I could physically or emotionally handle. Just when I thought I had another breath of air I once again tumble ten steps back and other days all the way to the bottom; an endless stairway and no available elevator to ride. Just like the 12 steps, many steps involve myself or others and it’s been “the others” that have been the blessing throughout this dreadful climb. They have picked me up when I felt like never getting up again, they are the ones that have thought about my heart-break and imagined the pain in hopes that in some sort of way it lessened mine for a moment.
The 7 Stages of Grief are more frightening to me than the twelve steps. There seems to be no order just a constant un-orderly mess of emotions. They may be a good general guide to what to expect, but unlike the book What to Except When You’re Expecting there is no happy at the end and no bundle in my arms when the healing begins. I think the stages were written for those grieving to know they are normal and there are no directions or guidelines to how we heal, but also for those around us to reflect back on when they think it’s about time to stop mopping around and rejoin the land of the living. I think the 7 Stages were written for others to understand my desire to be alone with my sadness when things seemed good shortly before. They were created carefully to assure reflection and talking about the one we love is normal and when I do get to the 7th stage to except that returning to the carefree, untroubled ME that existed before this tragedy would be unrealistic, but I’m in hopes find a way forward.
The seasons will forever be the hardest, my first winter, spring, summer, and now fall without my boy. As I reflect back to the past three seasons I vaguely remember anything. I feel like I’ve checked out and ran on automatic pilot most days because I’m so consumed with thinking about the past 23 years of ‘this day, week or season in which I might forget something. I get through the motion and responsibilities, but other than that I am consumed with the past. At times the memories are filled with laughter and other sadness and fear. The fear that as time passes it might feel like Grant is further away; that memories may become less detailed or that others may forget. My reliving the past makes him still part of all my memories and the sadness and grief I have is that he won’t be a part of the new memories to come. I was talking with Chelsey the other day; it was one of my dark moments and one of the many hard to explain emotions I have daily, but I found the words to explain how I feel. I told her it’s like the frantic emotion that runs through your body when you can’t find your child and the escalating anxiety you have while you are scrambling around looking. It’s that moment your child is choking in the back seat while you’re driving. It’s the panic I feel at any given moment of the day because I can’t fix it… I can’t bring him back and I can’t imagine my life without him. It’s very much like what they say in recovery I can only take it one day at a time, I don’t know how I will feel tomorrow and it is very much a reality that I’m not promised tomorrow either.