I’ve been honest with you. Losing Jake has been heavy and complicated. I thought I was ready to face it and I thought my grief journey with Jake would more closely align with my grief journey with Melvin.
I was wrong. It happens.
At some point last week, after a really sad night, I sat down and thought about all the parts that are harder, all the part that are holding me down, all the parts that make me unable to breathe. And so much of this, and grief in general, is about what I can’t control. In short, I can’t control that Jake is gone. I can’t control that he has been gone for one month and that this past month feels like a hurtful forever. Even before he died, I couldn’t control so much about his health. So I guess I’ve been out of control (but not in a Girls Gone Wild way), for a while. I thought about how I could get back on track. Instead of thinking of all the things I was crying about, all the things that were out of my control, I instead made a list of the things I can affect. A list of all the things I can champion. It is exactly how I lived life with Melvin and Jake, not focusing on the things that we couldn’t fix, but focusing on all the ways we could shine. It is exactly how I need to continue to be, even in their absence.
No one said seeking joy is easy.
I tried to focus on, not on what is different about losing Jake and Melvin, but instead, what is the same. I tried to focus on the successes, on the things that could lift me up and remind me that it was OK and will be OK. And I thought for a long time and I came up with three things that were then and that are still now.
- “Love lives on” for me, was born the moment Melvin died. I honestly believe that it was my purpose last year to make sure that Melvin-love lived on and it’s my life’s work now to add Jake-love to that mix.
- Love and joy, are who I am. What guides me has not changed. Part of it is perhaps lost in the grief shuffle right now, but it was the whole of me before and I still feel it at my core now. I just have to get out of my own way.
- Most importantly, the common denominator between last year and this year, is me. Sure, I could argue that is the hard part, but I survived losing Melvin. I went on to see Jake through last year, the worst health year of his life. I did that. I’ve been selling myself pretty short by focussing on all the things I can’t handle this past month. I got through last year. I’ll get through this year too.
So I added a new mantra to my day. Love lives on. Check. Go find your joy. Check, check. And now, I have to ‘make the not OK, OK‘. Part of that means that not everything will be OK…and that’s just how it is, but I don’t have to let those moments own me. I can acknowledge them and let them be for now. There are things I can make OK. A new OK. A different OK. OK is a town you pass through on the way to New Normal.
My GPS may be working again. I’ll keep you posted. Until then, here are a few things that brought me joy this past week…
My view into the washing machine last night. It was OK to wash them, they needed cleaned.
Jake is ‘Dog of the Month’ at our local and most favorite pet supply store, Happy Hound!
And this. These two are sorta the whole of everything. #loveliveson