Making Progress

Pieces are starting to come together now.  I can feel it.  Things are feeling different, like there’s momentum building to something new.  That’s a great change given that for the last number of months I’ve felt much more of stuck and lost than moving and new.  I feel very much like I’m taking the first steps on a new journey, a journey by myself.  I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on a big rock by the shore watching my empty boat float up and down on the river we just traveled.  I’ve watched carefully for smoke signals, anything to tell me she’s out there.  Funny enough, the signs are everywhere I choose to see them; fifty a day would be a breeze.  I’ve watched the boat float up and down in the water while I’ve sat for a long time by myself.  But as I watched and waited, I also have been busy.  I’ve collected the wood around me, made some new tools, and have begun to make a new boat.

I just got back from playing my first kickball game.  It was fun.  Eleven new people and I will spend Wednesday nights together kicking the crap out a rather large rubber ball in the name of fun.  Everyone I met was very nice and full of smiles.  Despite our unfamiliarity, the camaraderie drove us together toward one common goal: have fun.  Of course, winning wouldn’t be too bad if it was forced on us (tonight it was not) but that didn’t stop us from making our stand.  It was great to meet some new people who, frankly, didn’t know me or my story.  It was relaxing in a way.

Of course, I wanted to stand up and yell what happened to everyone in such a way that not an eye stayed dry.  People love it when I do that.  It really brings a party together.  But I didn’t (I know!  Shocker!)  I’ll bet I whisper it eventually but for as long as my will power wins out I’m going to keep my mouth shut.  But it’s tough to stay quiet about my past.  What do I get in return for my efforts?   Nothing.

I spent most of last week in Key West.  It was a wonderful, wonderful trip put together by a friend who has been going to this specific locale for 16 years.  Wow, 16 years.  There was no particular goal in mind other than smile, have fun, and enjoy what Key West had to offer.  I had a fantastic time and feel like it was very healing.  In fact, I realized on Saturday that I hadn’t cried in nearly a week!  That’s stunning!  For a short while when I was there, I was happy but not in a I’m-forcing-myself-to-smile-and-be-happy way like I’ve been (and still am) doing.  In fact, it was very different.  For a while, a short while, I forgot to be sad!  Not I’m happy more than I’m sad.  Not I’m happy and sad.  I actually forgot to be sad.  Wow, now that’s something I hadn’t felt for a while. 

Monday after I got back, I realized that I had found a new energy that put (and has kept!) a smile on my face.  And then, as soon as I reflected on how happy I was because of my time in Key West with friends, the guilt hit me square in the nose.  Yup, to celebrate this new-found unencumbered happiness, I added guilt.  Crap.

How could I possibly be happy, even for a little bit?  Why am I not carrying a bag of suffering labeled What Was on my shoulders?  Am I betraying my sweet angel?  Crap.  Guilt because I’m not sad.  I didn’t see this one coming.

8 thoughts on “Making Progress

  1. Hi Chris,

    I’m sure what you’re feeling is perfectly normal and very much part of the grieving process. Just remind yourself of what Maggie wanted for you and the guilt will ease. You’re doing so well, I’m sure she’s very proud of you!

  2. Chris,
    Let me repeat again Brad’s words…”Every moment that you are sad the cancer is still winning….don’t let it win against you”. Fiona.

  3. Chris,
    These are great steps toward your healing. Remember that you’ve been wounded as well. All of this is appropriate and dare I say, “normal.” I’m a mental health professional and I do a lot of grief/loss work with patients.
    This was a wonderful, optimistic post and I thank you for sharing this with so many people. It shares, well – hope.

  4. My heart rejoice in reading your post. The last few months I just read and re-read your posts but I was unable to say anything to you. I just simply did not know what to say. You do not know me but I sat just behind you at the memorial. I missed the opportunity to meet your Angel but I wanted to be there to meet the person who had touched my soul. You looked vulnerable to me that afternoon but you are such a good looking young man. I can tell that you are beginning to see and feel the sunshine. Love
    Maggie’s mom co-worker.

  5. Chris,
    I was just watching a show about grieving and loss. The Doctor leading the group said that the biggest mistake that grieving people make is to assume that the depth of their grief matches the amount that the person meant to them. Therefore people feel guilty when they feel that they are even coping with their grief by having a good time or even doing normal things and feeling o.k. about them. You need to feel some kind of joy in your life. All humans do. If we are just functioning in a depressed state then we are doing nothing to honor Brad and Maggie. They were joyous people that loved life. Brad read your blog for several months. I know I’m writing on your blog to make myself feel better. We suffered the exact same loss 2 days apart. I hope this helps you. It helped me a little. Thanks, Fiona.

  6. I understand. I feel the same way. I assumed that I would have a harder time coping with my mother’s death. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve known, deep down, for the last 3 years that this day was coming and was somewhat mentally prepared OR because I keep reminding myself that she would NOT want me to waste my time moping, but, either way, I do understand. Obviously, I’m still grieving (I still come to your blog everyday to help me cope), but live does go on. She knew it, your Maggie knew it and they are probably looking down on us and are pleased. Take care.

  7. Do you miss the comfort of being sad? Are you really Kurt Cobain in disguise? 😉

    Glad to hear you’re on the right path, though. All things in good time, my man.

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