Layers of Grief

For most of us that have lost a close loved one, we realize that grief comes in stages. I am currently in year 7 of grief, almost at year eight.


My son passed in 2013. In 2020, I had what I call a monumental shift in my grief in that I finally got to a place that not only was I saying he would want me to move on but actually feeling it right down to my soul. I finally was at a place where I was in acceptance, not that it was ok that my son passed but my brain and heart finally getting to a place where it was ok to be happy again, it was ok to smile again and more than anything it was ok to live again.


It is now 2021 and the next movement has started to come into place. We have decided to start downsizing as life changed that day and dreams that once were, are no longer.


For example, when we bought our property in 2006, it started the dream we had seen for the remainder of our lives until the day we would some day pass. We built our dream home on the property, our oldest son Devin wanted to build a big shop out there. The excitement and anticipation that one day Devin and his family and Branden and his family would spend so much time out there. We pictured our grand kids running around all over the place. We pictured family get togethers and spoiling the grandkids so they would want for nothing. It was our dream.


Then in 2013, when Devin passed away, those dreams were shattered and what we once thought our lives were going to look like was no longer a possibility. Our property became our grieving sanctuary, it was the place where we could grieve our son and still feel him so close around us. As time has progressed and we have peeled the layers of grief back, now comes the next big monumental layer to deal with. We have decided that we are selling the acreage. Coming to terms now with the dream being shattered and accepting that what we once envisioned had to change, again whether we wanted it or not. It has been such a huge decision, but it is the best decision to continue to move forward.


It is such a monumental attachment that we are saying good bye to but we will continue on this grief journey and choose to hold those memories in our heart versus attached to a piece of property. As I peel the layers away, I am definitely more understanding that the physical attachments (our acreage, for example) that I never thought I could get rid of are really only that, material.


Don’t get me wrong, I know that during this time, self care is going to be a major part of getting through this. Yesterday, a post was put on social media basically letting everyone know that we were selling soon. This definitely opened some wounds for me that I was not prepared for because it was one more step in this new direction. What I didn’t expect when this information was made public was for me to start down a journey of remembering so many precious moments.


I can literally visualize my son laying on the couch after he was sick, I can picture family holiday meals, the big bear hug I got in the front entrance every time when he got to the house and every time he left the house after a visit, having conversations around the island, discussions about the shop he wanted to build out there, the boys barreling around on the quads spraying mud all the way up to the windows on the second level in the back yard and so so many more. These visualizations bring me to tears each time, but I continue to remind myself that those memories will always be mine, no one and nothing can take that away from me. It doesn’t matter where I live because that time, that property will hold major memories in my life so long as I am breathing.


As much as those memories are hard to handle, it is also taking me on a new path of self discovery in that it is allowing me to come to terms on a new level that my future is different. I need to find a new path to walk and hold those memories tight in my heart. I have come to realize that this time is going to be another very difficult journey to walk but I know I am strong enough to walk this journey. I will start a new path with new dreams of what the future will entail.


Devin is always going to be a big part in all my thoughts, but I also know that he needs me to be moving forward and not just existing in this world. He needs me to create a new dream around my grand daughter and my other son.


I never knew that my life path did not have Devin with me the whole time. I am accepting that at this point and just making sure when I have those tough moments of saying good bye to more in my life that that is part of life. Devin is waiting for me on the other side and that provides me comfort that one day we will be together again but until then it is necessary to create new dreams and continue to grow until I take my last breath.


This is a reminder to everyone to not waste a minute of your time here. Live life to the fullest, if something happens that changes your path, find the new path and keep pushing forward. Love every moment you are on this earth because not everyone gets that time. I am positive Devin and all the others that have passed would probably give anything to have just one more day!!!

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