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Yet, in many ways, I feel stuck in this strange altered life where I perpetually feel as if I’ve lost a limb. I know that I have to find a way to adapt but sometimes I still feel so angry at, and tortured by this loss that it’s all I can do to put one foot in front of the other. Most of my free time is spent in solitude because of the fear that outside my safe places I can’t control the risk that someone or something might send me into a tailspin.
At the same time, my triggers are so engrained in me that I don’t even think about them much anymore except to avoid them: swimming pools, the smell of chlorine, the boys section at department stores and the 6 block radius surrounding the Accident Site are the big ones. I often wonder when and if these aversions will ever be less intense. If I will ever be able to face another swimming pool or go anywhere near THAT particular swimming pool again. What I will do with all of Noah’s toys and belongings, still boxed and undisturbed in the garage.
But mainly, what I ponder lately is how I am to live this life now. How I want to live it. It always kind of bothers me when I talk about Noah with someone I’ve just met and they say something like “I don’t know how you go on.” Whoa man! That’s a tough one to which I’m never quite sure how to respond. What do I say to that? Do I offer up reasons, as if they were excuses, about why I DO “go on?” The truth is I don’t know how I go on either. But I do, like it or not; with lots of help from Denial, Distraction and Displacement. Living in 3D the only way I know how.
As the two-year mark approaches, I can say that in some ways my life has been better than last year:
- I know how to do today and I try to be gentle with expectations of myself for tomorrow.
- I don’t cry every day anymore but at night I still hold tight to the quilts made from Noah’s clothes.
- I still prefer the safety of my home; though I do appreciate and love my friends and family for pulling me out from time to time whether I want to or not.
- The shrine that was my living room has normalized somewhat, with some of my treasured relics now packed away.
- I’m working on facing and dealing with my tendency to engage in or overdo things that aren’t really good for me.
- I’m trying to practice being grateful: I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. – Ann Frank
So. The truth is that I still feel broken. I can debunk the old saying now and say that time heals nothing. I still feel bewildered and overwhelmed. Progress and growth come slowly and only after a lot of difficult and exhaustive work. Every day is still a battle and almost every night is too. My brain has given me some pretty amazing dreams but the nightmares are agony. The battle is always there. But I’m trying to have “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I know I cannot change what happened, but accepting that Noah left this existence and in the way that he did…is still a daily struggle.