My wedding anniversary is coming up this week. That sentence alone causes difficulty – is it more accurate to say it would have been my wedding anniversary, or it should have been? They both seem clumsy and incomplete, raising too many questions, but they do insert the missing break in continuity, the fact that celebrating, in this case, does require two people.
All this deliberation over a sentence reflects the feeling that this marker brings, a need for a shift, one that is slight on the face of things, but will shift my direction entirely.
Someone asked me recently if I felt I had gone through all the phases of grief, but I don’t think that it has worked like that at all. There has been change all the way through, phases, different needs as I’ve mourned and begun to heal. But now three years on, it feels like I need a change of direction, one that comes from a slight move of the steering wheel to the right, that means I will avoid gong around the cycle again.
It would be easy, I think, to stay in this cycle because it has engulfed me so thoroughly. But although grieving him has been been such a defining part of my life, Mark wasn’t my life. That sounds obvious and harsh at the same time. I loved him, and am so very grateful for the love he gave me, and I don’t think I will ever stop being sad that such a beautiful, lustrous man is no longer in my life. But he isn’t. And to honour the life that I have, one that more closely resembles the one he always urged me to live, I need to start living in a way that is less defined by the loss of him.
I’ve realised that when it comes to Theory U, I realise, I have plenty of understanding of the downward fall, the letting go of the familiar ways of thinking and knowing, and I have learnt the watching, the sensing and intuiting, waiting to see what’s emerging.
But I don’t know much about the upward sweep of the U, about the actual experience of something new.
There is something very risky in this, and even now my rational thinking is beginning to chastise me, tear at any hint of enthusiasm, warning me that all that’s up ahead is the same old same old. But I need fresh direction, fresh paths to walk, even if just writing that makes me uncomfortable.
So I want this anniversary, and the three year anniversary of his death coming up, to be markers not only of loss, but of a shift towards something new. That something will always have him as part of it, loving him has been too big a part of my life, as has been losing him. Both have been life-changing.
But that change that has taken place, the love that I still have for him, those things need to be gathered up and taken somewhere new.