...... hit harder than I expected.
But what else is new?
Actually, as I've written before, this month has gone more smoothly than it ever has during the last five years.
And while that's been a relief, it also kind of set me up ...... to think that THE day would also go more smoothly.
So I wasn't looking for the wave that came in the night before. I wasn't standing there, watching the horizon, bracing myself for both waves and undertow.
I tend to face things much better if I'm able to brace myself beforehand.
I should've known better.
But here's the thing ...... if I'd braced myself and waited for the wave ...... then I would've given up the hope that I had ...... the hope that this year, this day would be different, would feel differently.
In looking back ...... I'm glad that I held onto hope. I'm glad that I didn't see that wave, no matter how much it hurt. Because I think that the hope I held helped me to recover more quickly. I was knocked down, to be sure. But I stood back up, dammit. And I did it faster than I have before.
So ...... this day was different. In the end.
Yes, it did hurt.
And the memories of that day hurt.
The missing of him continues to hurt.
But none of it paralyzes me anymore.
None of it sucks me under and threatens to flood into my lungs and drown me.
I am now stronger that "it" is.
Most of the time.
"It', being grief.
So right now, as I'm writing this and year 5 is coming to an end in less than an hour ...... I see myself standing on the shore, looking off into the horizon with the wind whipping around me ...... my right arm stretched out and the middle finger of my hand firmly extended ...... as I yell at the top of my lungs, "Fuck you, Grief! I'm still standing!"