Now that I have hit and passed the dreaded one year mark, I can’t help but feel like I am having my own personal New Years. I feel like it’s time to purge the pain and put my new life back together. It’s time to remove some of the clutter from my “past life” so to speak. I cannot carry our entire past into my future. That is too heavy a load for my 5’2″ tiny wingspan to bear. I can carry the components that matter most, but get rid of the clutter.
I spoke with my therapist about this. I was wise enough (or dumb enough depending on how you want to look at it) to see my therapist on the one year mark. We discussed my heart analogy and where I fit into this analogy at this point in time. And I told her, I feel sort of as if my shamble-shack fell apart because my foundation was off. How is it off? It is not authentically me. It contained too much of my past, too much Matt. Matt can always be a part of my finished heart structure, but he cannot be part of the foundation. I am my own person, I need my foundation to be me. There will always be a space in my heart for Matthew, he just cannot be the foundation.
It is time for me to take back my life in a sense. My life has been very chaotic for well over a year, I was barely passing off as a human at the time that Matthew died. I was in a deep depression from my being down and out from surgery, how the recovery was taking longer than it should, and how little progress I was seeing with my physical therapy. I felt like I wasn’t living my authentic self because I wasn’t working. I wasn’t using my critical thinking skills, I wasn’t challenging my mind. I was in a rebuild process when this all happened. I was interviewing for some jobs. I would say at this point in time in my life my heart-house was a house in itself, but needed some notable renovations or updates. But then the whole house exploded from the inside out.
In the beginning, I was simply in shock. All I felt was a deep, deep heartache and complete disbelief. My Matthew could not have died. This is not possible. I could not comprehend it. So I shut down. For months, Just barely surviving. I was attempting to work on myself, but it was just a desperate way to try to alleviate even a fraction of that acute pain that you feel in the beginning.
Eventually, I began to feel restless and I hated that I had to rely on people so heavily just to survive. It was time to get myself back into the work force. Which felt extremely daunting at the time because it had been so long since I had last worked thanks to my surgery. I went just shy of a year without working, and had very little experience on my resume because I was 25 years old! Not the typical age to be taking a one year hiatus due to health and the death of a spouse.
Once I started to work, I was completely immersed in it. It felt so good to live a normal, functional life. I was doing really well; it was refreshing. But grief started to rear its ugly head around what would’ve been Matt’s 30th birthday. And then it was Halloween. Then my PTSD got triggered, and I would say I had a mental breakdown of sorts. I totally shut down on a mental and physical level. I even went to the doctor thinking I was deathly ill, but really I was just too stressed and I broke. I became completely unhinged. And I have been fighting my way back ever since. But I kept getting hit by waves of holidays and important anniversaries.
Now, I have all of those daunting days behind me and I feel that I can finally breathe again and focus on myself. I can finally work on the task at hand, and hopefully my foundation can be built strong enough this time around to endure whatever life throws my way in the year to come.