In a long term relationship you don't stay the same as a couple. You go through phases and changes and you learn, grow, take a step back, three steps forward. You just never stay the same. I guess that is how they can work- it's not boring and it just grows deeper and deeper. If you are lucky like I was it grows better and better as it grows deeper. Grief is like a long term relationship. It changes, it doesn't stay the same. Thank god for that! I was reading a post from a newly bereaved and it had shock written all through it, she didn't know she was in shock poor thing. She was questioning everything, why she couldn't cry, how guilty she felt about that, how long it would be like this when the pain would start and stop. I remember being there, I wanted to reach through the social media barrier and just hold her and cry with her. I remember when I questioned everything. I remembered when I wanted and needed to know how it was going to be. How if I only had those answers it would make it all okay. Those answers never come to you, instead you live to them.
Recently I felt like my grief story was changing a bit. I was thinking of Terry less. I put one picture of him away. I felt like I will "succeed" in my grief for him, whatever the hell that is. It just felt like You're getting there. You can remember and not cry, you can remember and just cry a bit. You can think and not feel guilt or abandonment or numb or the need to run to something else. You aren't yearning for a dream of him. You know he is dead and what that means for you now.
And I came into my quiet lonely apartment this afternoon and I felt it again. Three steps backwards into grief. Run - don't feel it; feel it - don't run. There is always a choice. And way up on the top shelf I spied his clothes I had kept. In my incorrect poor memories of early days I thought I had let go of this stuff. But I hadn't, a part of that shocked women kept key important items she'd want to have later. His black hat with the small red rose, the hat he had when I met him and he wore all over our travels in BC when we were a young free couple. The shirt I gave him for Christmas, that fit him so well and he looked so handsome in, one item of clothing I bought him that he actually liked. And the tie he had bought for his business schooling when we were smack in the middle of our toughest shittiest years struggling with debt and kids and feeling most apart. And I knew I had to smell these, and have them on my body, and remember when he did and imagine what these meant to him. I had to feel what they mean to me now. And it felt okay. Grief spiraling deeper, changing, getting better but still here like a long time married couple.