Things have soften. Memories that used to cut like a razors edge that sliced at me from the inside, are hazier and don't leave as much damage as they once did.
Talking about Abby often results in a smile almost as much as tear. Most of the time, it's both. And the tears are a testament to a bittersweet love story, not the fathomless depth of blackness.
The idea of never seeing her again doesn't rip and tear its way through my body like it used to. It still floats at the edge of disbelief, but it doesn't injure me like it used to.
Thoughts about the future don't terrify or mystify me anymore. They aren't lost in that gray fog as much. They seem warmer, brighter and ever so slightly more imaginable. A future seems possible. The present is easier to bear.
I believe we often think of grief as traveling on a line that goes from the first, worst moments to many many years away when you're as "better". We think that if we suddenly have a set back and feel worse again, that we think of it as traveling backwards on that line and that we undid all our work and we're back at square one. But in reality, it's more like we've just temporarily stepped off the tracks. We get back on at the same place we got off. That must explain why, over time, I've had setbacks but have recovered more quickly after each one, and continued to make improvements despite many setbacks and struggles.
It's because I didn't go back. I just went off track for a bit and got right back to the path as soon as I'd gathered my strength again.
I've felt as though it's hopeless when I've have those setbacks. I've felt as though I'll never be better and I'm just retracing my steps, but I don't think I am now. I think I'm just stepping away for a bit but not losing ground. Every day of those worst times made me stronger, though it felt like the opposite. Every day was progress, though I couldn't see it then. Every day got me farther and farther down that road toward better, and the detours just took me off-road, into the woods from time to time.
Even if things begin to feel sharp and dangerous and thoughts slice me up from the inside again, I'll find my way back to the path and start right where I left off, stronger than before. I never turned around and walked backwards.
All those miles were hard-won and have not been in vain.
Today I cannot help but remember though the 8 long months it's been.
I remember Abby.
I will always remember.
love knows not
its own depth
until the hour