After Henry died, there was the usual business of visitors and planning his funeral services. We went through those days in pain but with purpose. As always happens, though, life flows back into the lives of those around you like the tide coming in, but you who are grieving are left in unfamiliar and unpleasant territory. For you, the tides have stopped.
I think it was our first weekend alone as a family after his death that we went to a local Civil War battlefield to ride bikes. It was horrible. I spent the whole day in daze, realizing that this was now what my family looked like. Henry wasn't here, and he never would be again. The day was full of hurt and tender grieving. When faced with the option of sitting at home doing nothing but grieving all day, the bike ride seemed a welcome option. Busy grief has proven to be easier to bear than non-busy grief, at least for me.
Two years have passed. We went back today to ride again, the four of us. Spring in the air, glad to be out of the house at last, we had a blast. The scenery was beautiful, the cool air not too cool, the exercise welcome to winter-weakened legs.
We laughed. We laughed so hard that at least two of us might have moistened our undergarments (but I won't say which two). There was no heaviness, no hurt...a family of four, out for a wonderful spring day. He was not with us today, the way he was the last time we rode. I tear up to say that, but he wasn't. Today it was just us, and it was really fun.
It is what it is. It doesn't mean we don't love him, and miss him desperately. We do. But we are moving on without him.