Still Standing

Well, we made it through the holidays and are still standing. I always expect it to get easier and it never does. The days are short and the nights long. Dark thoughts are harder to push away when it’s dark outside. And everywhere you look there are abundant reminders of home and family. When your family is no longer intact, the big hole that has been rent in the fabric of your life shows up with stark clarity. Homicide survivors know that there is no magical holiday reunion in store. The place will always be empty and it hurts. No wonder suicide rates go up during the winter holiday season.

So, still standing. I’ve gone through a lot of yarn. I finish projects and start new ones. If I keep my hands busy and my brain busy counting stitches I can just about hold on most days. That doesn’t mean there aren’t breakdowns – there are. But, I’m still standing at the end. I’m still breathing. I’m still putting one foot in front of the other. That’s my big accomplishment. I continue to continue.

I hope that doesn’t sound too pathetic. Perhaps I am. There are times when I am hit so hard with a longing for Neal or Devon or Ian that just taking that next breath seems like an insurmountable task. Just one hug. Just one look. Just one laugh. I know it’s not going to happen, but a part of me still wants that. I love them. They mean the world to me. I don’t imagine that will ever change. The idea that supernatural forces are just waiting to produce a miracle at this time of year is everywhere you turn. Our culture LOVES those stories. But it’s a very painful theme to endure over and over again when you are dealing with loss. I sometimes think that if I have to see one more grandparent embracing a long lost grandchild, or one more angel turning back time I will scream.

Nearly every culture has stories and practices that are meant to pull us through the darkness of winter and help us believe in the promise of a new spring to come. We don’t like the dark. As the days grow shorter and shorter, it’s easy to sypathize with our ancient ancestors who feared that the sun was going to go away forever. It feels like that sometimes. Will I stand in the light again someday? I don’t know. On days like this it’s very hard to imagine it. So, I embrace survival. One more holiday endured. One more sunrise. One more breath. One more scarf or blanket to force on someone who doesn’t really want one. Still standing. Monkey

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