A few months ago I mentioned another bereaved parent, who said "It doesn't get better, it's just different" as time goes by. I had another episode if wondering whether I was normal, as things were really getting better for me. But I think I've reached where she was.
For a time the grief controlled my life. It was unpredictable, overpowering, and uncontrollable. It had a power akin to cancer; I didn't know how I would feel each day, what I could or could not accomplish, whether it would be a good one or a bad one. The emotional pain was so intense it was almost physical.
Grief has gradually morphed into a much more tame beast. I can often tell when it will act up, and I can generally put it off until a convenient time if need be. I don't like living with it, but we have reached a mutual understanding. This is the part that for me is better, so much better. For a while I feared how long I could go on the way things were. It almost reminded me of labor, when you think there is no possible way that you can go on enduring more pain, and then you do.
I no longer fear that. I will live with this pseudo-domesticated companion forever. We get along ok. Honestly, I miss it when it is gone too long, again wondering if I am normal, or love my children enough. I often welcome it's sting when it returns after a break, like a religious penance.
But I find that the beast that is grief was a distraction from reality, the reality that he is gone. And now, when I am quiet, not grieving, not occupied, his absence is all around me.
That is what will never change, will never be better...just different.