Falling Apart Without Losing The Pieces
People are always telling me that they’re impressed at how I’ve been able to hold it together since I lost my dad.
I hate to break it to those people, but I have not held it together. Not even close.
Two weeks ago, I was up in Connecticut to help mom get the house ready to sell. We cleaned, organized, and got stuff ready for the tag sale she had this past week. I fell apart more times than I can remember.
I cried when I saw my bright, happy orange bedroom painted beige.
I cried when I scrubbed hinges clean.
I cried as I pulled away from the house for what could very likely be the last time.
I’m crying as I write about crying.
I cry in private and in public. I am overcome with emotion at random times.
It’s not that I don’t fall apart. It’s not that I know how to hold it together. It’s that I’ve come to terms with the idea that falling apart is inevitable.
I’ve learned how to fall apart without losing the pieces.
And this, I’ve learned, is the key to grieving: letting myself experience the full depth of emotion, while keeping some sort of perspective.
It still makes me angry that mom is having to sell the house, that she is living without dad, that Caleb won’t ever know dad like I imagined, that my dad won’t ever help me with handy projects around my own house. There’s plenty to be sad about if I really want to dwell on it.
But there’s also plenty to celebrate. Caleb is learning new words each day, mom is moving to an awesome house by the beach, we live in one of the most exciting places to explore, Keith has normal clinic hours, and I get to be involved in dance again.
My grief sometimes leaves me shattered, but the pieces of my former self haven’t disappeared. I’m being pieced back together into a newer, healthier, more grounded version of me.
As I was going through photos of the house, I found this gem of Caleb studying the family photo we took after he was born: