It seems that living life and coping with grief co-exist without one dislodging the other. When I was on my way to pick up Miles to go to Hawaii, I started having a familiar feeling of gut-wrenching nostalgia, sadness, and depression about going on a trip without Kirsten. It occurred to me to say to myself that I should see this trip as not without Kirsten, but as a trip with Miles. That thought helped and we had an amazing time. It's not that Kirsten was not on my mind, in fact, she was always on my mind and Miles and I mentioned her several times (the last trip on a plane was when the three of us went to Palm Springs). It's just that I decided to focus on enjoying the moment, being present, and realized that there was nothing more important than that trip with my son.
My experience as a father and Kirsten's as a step-mom were diluted as so much of our lives over that six years was about cancer. I have a responsibility to myself and others to not compound this loss by losing more precious moments. I realize that Kirsten's parents have lost their child and would give anything to have more time with her. I realize that Kirsten would want us to live. In fact, she would be pretty upset if we wasted our lives.
As I said previously, I suppose I'm learning to live with both having such a loss in my life and living my life. I refer back to C.S. Lewis when he talked about the "wound" inflicted by the death of a loved one being analogous to losing a leg. Yes, it “heals”, but you are forever changed. There are constant reminders of the significant absence; there is recurring pain; you may learn to walk again, but it's never the same, and so on. This analogy is certainly one of the greatest descriptors of how I feel.
I'm making the effort to live in the now and cope with my grief. It can be difficult to do when living in the now doesn't include the physical being of Kirsten. Buddhism proposes that we each make our own Heaven and Hell - that these are states of mind and how we feel, our happiness, is a choice. I really do love this concept and I believe it is a wonderful way of living. However, it's difficult to choose to be happy when I am not with Kirsten. Therein lies the dilemma.
|Golfing in Paradise - not a bad way to process|
This one is for you Uncle Ray
|Notably, this is the first time without Kirsten|
that I wanted to capture the moment
|This is an ode to Kirsten and her love of the feet shot|