Living in the “after”

I swam at the beach for the first time today.

Yes, I have done this before. But this time it felt so different and brand new.

It is because it was the first time I had done it since my daughter passed away. The first time I had done it during the “after”.

My life is now in two parts – before and after. The person I was before and the experiences she had, are almost foreign to me now. I look at pictures from before and all I can see is how blissfully naive and innocent I was. Sometimes I wonder who that woman was, and if she’s coming back.

Today, the ocean felt so familiar, and yet completely different. The water was more blue, and refreshing on my skin. The weightlessness of my body in the water was more freeing than ever before.

Someone once told me that at one point during my journey with grief, the clouds would part and I would see blue in the sky again. I was told that this shade of blue would be more brilliant than it ever was before. I would feel a thankfulness for it that I hadn’t experienced in the past.

As I think about today, I wonder if it’s happening. Am I coming back to life? Maybe the person I was never left, and I just have to find a way to infuse her into the person I have become.

I was also warned by the same person that the clouds of grief can and likely will come back at times. Grief can rip the color right out of your world in an instant. I know that it will again. I know this peace is fleeting, and before long something will trigger the pain again. I know the guilt for feeling happiness will soon tear me down.

But for right now, I’m going to settle in and call this place home. I’ll relish in the peace while it lasts, and cling to the memory of this feeling when the clouds return.

The most beautiful thing about all of this is being able to separate my daughter’s memory from my pain. I love looking at pictures of her, and feeling thankful for her life and being astounded by her beauty, without it all being overshadowed by sorrow. I really want my little girl’s place in my heart to be joyful.

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