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This is something I wrote on my blog yesterday, and I thought that I'd share here as I'm sure many of you can relate. Just wanted to open up discussion or thought maybe it would help others get their thoughts together around this.
For the first time today in over a month I sat down and looked through pictures of Spencer and I. During the holiday season, my birthday, and the anniversary of his death I completely shut off all of my grieving emotions. Dealing with so much in such a short period of time was too much for me to handle and it was a lot easier to just not think about any of it at all. I didn't realize that I was doing this until I went home to KS to visit my family for Christmas. There was a day when I realized I had been completely ignoring all of my feelings. It got to the point where I didn't want to think about him, I didn't want to look at pictures of him, or us, and I didn't want anything to do with that part of my life. It left me feeling terribly guilty and heartbroken that I was firstly able to do that and secondly that I was allowing myself to do that.
But for the first time today as I was looking through pictures of us, new and quite old, I let myself feel every emotion that was bottled up inside. I suddenly missed Spencer with an ache that was so intense. One so deep I couldn't possibly shove it to the side for a rainy day. No... today was going to be my rainy day.
I started out looking at pictures of our wedding day. I looked at them in a different way this time, with a different perspective. The perspective of a young widow who is starting to realize what the full implications are of losing the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. The perspective of the young widow who is heartbroken and grieving her husband over what she no longer has. She sees the future with him no longer in it and weeps.
I looked at him more than I did us. I studied the expressions on his face. The wedding picture that got to me most was this one
I never really studied Spencer's body language and expression before with this picture. I always just laughed at how silly I looked. But in this picture he's so comfortable. He's content, not struggling to breathe. He is more relax than ever. And his smile, though it may not have been a full smile, it's one that shows a deep happiness. He was so ready for our life together. And it kills me that we only got 6 months after becoming man and wife. 6 months.
I then looked through older pictures of us. Ones that I hadn't seen in a very long time. I stumbled upon a photo of myself smiling for the camera shortly after getting engaged.
Look at me. I am so incredibly happy. And I remember being so happy. Overjoyed really about the thought of spending the rest of Spencer's life with him, and if we got a miracle -- the rest of our lives together.
After looking through some more older pictures of the two of us and then going back to more recent ones, I looked at some of the pictures that were taken after Spencer passed away. There aren't a whole lot of me, and the ones I have I'm not too fond of. There is just something different about them. It's like a century of time has passed between the photos "then" and the photos "now". But I couldn't figure out what was so different.
But then it hit me and I let out a sob like I haven't let out in such a long time. One of deep longing and desire for the life that I once had. A life that made me so happy. There was in fact a difference between these pictures, aside from the obvious difference. In every single "then" picture that I look at that includes Spencer or has anything to do with Spencer, whether I was smiling and giddy or if I was tired and showing a half smile, I was happy. I was genuinely very, very happy. I had a glow about me that was radiating. A glow that I had never noticed before. I had this aura about me constantly because I was complete. I was fulfilled. I was so, so in love and so full of love for that man and for the life that I was living. He is and was my better half and completed me 110%. He made me happy. He made me, me.
I look at pictures "now" and I look so different. I don't look sad, but I don't look the same. I do look happy, and I am happy in the pictures that I have taken, but that glow is no longer there. My eyes are dull, my smile faded. I don't have the same zest for life that I had in the "before" and sadly it shows.
I do get excited about things in my life, but nothing like I used to. I get extremely happy about certain things, but it's not the same. I no longer react how I used to react. I'm not able to. It's like when he passed away this little unknown switch went to the neutral, or off, position. The best way I can describe it is that I have been dulled. My life has been dulled by this loss and I haven't realized it until a year later.
I called up my mom over her lunch break and told her of this very heartbreaking understanding that I came do. She told me she has seen it for a long time. And I had wondered that before I even talked to her -- if I can see it now, have others seen it before in the pictures I've posted? I asked her if it had been that obvious; she told me that it isn't that obvious, it's not like I look terrible now and like a completely different person, but she can see the dullness that has now taken over my life. I wonder if it's just in pictures? Have I changed in my personality and day-to-day life as well? Have my close friends and family seen a subtle, or heck, even an obvious change in me since I lost Spencer?
It's amazing what death can suck out of a person. I never thought this would be me. I have read blogs and grief books about this same thing. I have watched movies, TV shows, and books about fictional grieving characters. I have seen this happen in all of them, but for some reason I didn't think that it was actually happening to me. I don't know how or why I missed this detail. It kind of bothers me that I didn't realize it before. How could I have been so naive to think that my life was the same (minus one) that it was before.?It's funny how our bodies and minds do this, play tricks on us so that we don't feel the real emotions until we are ready to feel them. Our bodies and minds make us naive for a distinct reason. Sometimes I am thankful and sometimes it upsets me. But it's something that I cannot control, like most things.
Year two is hard... harder than year one. I expected it, but I didn't expect it like this. I ache all over and so very deep inside. I am empty. I am lonely. I am changed. I miss him more than ever.
I miss my glow. I miss my excitement and zest for life. One day I will get it back, but until then it's something I long for and I cannot wait until I look at a picture of me and rediscover that glow.