I just got home from attending and officiating the Warrior’s wedding in Idaho. He lives up to his name. He has always fought for my freedom.
It’s been 10 months since the state of a new identity was introduced to me. I am certainly in a better frame of mind today and continue to explore this new identity with courage and strength. But that doesn’t mean I no longer pine for the old days.
One insidious aspect of grief is the consistent invitation to the Pity Party that gets delivered at all times of the day. The problem with the Pity Party is that it’s not much of a party. There are only two in attendance.
Grief, on the other hand, is still willing to go out in public. Grief doesn’t need to isolate the two of us. It can be OK in groups of people as well as in solitude. Grief and Pity are easily mistaken for each other.
Grief allows for others to be happy. Pity despises that scene.
Four days in the beautiful mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho. Reconnecting with long-term friends and meeting new ones. Lots of conversation over craft beer and hiking trails. Great food and local drink. A picturesque ceremony in a botanical garden for a radiant couple.
I did pretty good until she walked down the aisle.
I’m the presiding minister, the one in charge of the flow of the formalities and I start to lose composure. The Beauty of Everything was too much to hold in. I stumbled through the opening prayer, holding off tears in order to come back and focus on the task at hand. It was their moment, not mine.
Through the vows, the rings, the pronouncement and opening reception, I did fine. But Grief is stealthy. Just when I think it’s smooth sailing from here on out, Grief taps me on the shoulder and points out an emotion that’s been overlooked.
It was during the dancing portion of the reception. I felt immediately alone. I had to excuse myself. I didn’t want to create an awkward moment. But I am well acquainted with the voice of Grief. It’s akin to a child tugging on your pant leg demanding to go to the bathroom, I know to respond right away.
Because like the little child, Grief’s needs can be satisfied just as quickly in the moment. Grief doesn’t like to hold it. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
So I stepped away, maybe for 15 minutes, and wandered through the floral and vegetal plantings in the botanical garden. I asked Grief what it needed. Here’s what it said:
“Thank you for paying attention to me.”
LIke any other good companion, Grief doesn’t like to be ignored. I am growing in that lesson these past 10 months, and I am a better man because of it.
I came back soon after and rejoined the wedding party. There was a conversation about flights out the next morning. The Warrior said in passing, “Too bad you didn’t plan to drive back.”
That started the imagination. Why would I not?
I can still hear my Dad saying, “Stop and smell the roses, son. You may never pass this way again.”
As the photos show, I smelled a lot of roses along the 3 day drive back home.
I’ve grown to appreciate the Open Road during grief. It continually tells me new stories along the way. The Four Walls of Home remind and retell the old ones.