Now, after a year has passed since Clay’s death, I made some time to sit down and write. I’ve reflected on all the changes in my life and when you look at them on paper, it may not seem like a lot, but when broken down it just about pushed me overboard. All of this heart-breaking change forced me to think about my own mortality.
After Clay died, I did the one thing I knew best – ACTION! I jumped right into it, taking care of whatever needed to be done – and as I look back now, I should have done things a little bit differently. Specifically, to truly mourn Clay’s death and to give myself much needed moments of sadness. It was months after Clay’s death that I actually took the time to mourn his loss. Clay’s belongings, his personal effects – these all needed to be dealt with. It took five months to remove all of his clothing from the house, even after family and friends selecting what they wanted. There was this sense of attachment that I struggled with. His friend, his partner, his adventure buddy – all gone – and I was completely beside myself learning how to cope with the ball of energy Clay left behind. Living and breathing someone else’s world every day, text messages throughout the day, seeing each other in the morning and in the evening. It was all gone.
Some moments stand out more than others, and I remember days where all I could muster up was to sit in the kitchen and stare at the clock’s second hand. I remember going through Clay’s emails and having to respond to potential clients, letting them know he had passed away. I remember driving to work and crying after hearing a specific song. I remember looking at Bailey and feeling so bad that his buddy left him. I remember looking at friends’ faces and feeling their empathy, but there was nothing I could do for them or even myself. Let’s just face it, everything was all messed up.
All the while, during these moments I thought, “Oh, April, a year from now you will look back and it will all be okay.” Today, at the present moment, YES, I am okay, but I still have my moments of grief. However, I have been working hard at finding the pieces and gluing my heart back together. I am reminded daily of the beauty that surrounds me and how much hope I still have in life. Yes, it’s better. But at times it was hard to imagine how one could feel “better” after the past year. And then, then comes grief…
Grief. It comes in many different forms and there is no timeline for when it will leave. My grief told me to run away, to get away. That you want to escape, to run away from everything: responsibilities, people, your home, your memories. Grief told me to ditch reality and instead dream about riding my bike into the desert and never return. Even after a year my grief is very real. I have learned to embrace it, to learn from it, and to sometimes just tell it to F*** OFF!!! I’ve learned that I may never really get to say goodbye to my grief. But I have learned to channel it differently, to allow it to be a part of my daily life, and to create positivity from my grief.
I have accepted Clay’s decision, I’ve accepted that his decision has changed my path. My new path will be that of progress, positivity, and love. I hope to someday reflect on this time and smile knowing that while the path was rocky, exhausting, and full of ups and downs – I’ll be smiling and happy with the overall journey.
Be love and peace.