Grief,  This Life

The Sunny Side

As many of you know, I am doing quite well with my grief. I mean, as well as somebody can with something like that. But there are still those times, those gut-wrenching moments that get me. And I have accepted that these will probably always happen but I also think it’s good to talk about them. To let them go as you share how you felt and dealt with it.

“Every time you tell your story, it becomes part of the community you’re telling it to and you become less alone with it,” I said this in the AMA (Ask Me Anything) I did on Sunday night (all questions and answers are still available to read here) and I truly believe it.

So, I share with you a punch in the gut that happened on Sunday morning. I was walking through a subway station and started to hear a familiar sound as I reached the platform. I quickly realized it was “Keep on the Sunny Side” – one of Steven’s favorite songs – which is why we played it at his funeral.

My immediate reaction was involuntary. There was no way I could have stopped it. That heart-wrenching, punch in the gut feeling that passed through me was horrible and I felt my knees go weak. Somehow, I kept myself together, tears stinging my eyes, grateful that the train was approaching.

Now, the thing with that song is that it’s quite catchy. Steven, would belt it out often, not just because he liked it but he loved getting it stuck in my head. And still, this past Sunday, even though I escaped the actual music, the song replayed in my mind over and over again.

What do you do with that? After I got over the initial turmoil, I started to play around with it in my thoughts. I focused on switching directions and used it to remember Steven’s smile and joy when he sang it. His silliness. I remembered how happy he always felt when he was singing it or when we played it. Slowly, that punch in the gut started feeling more like a sad but beautiful nostalgia. I thought about his energy, wherever it is, happy that the song was being played, not only in the subway but playing in my mind. I imagined him laughing. What a lovely memory of him.

Those thoughts led me to reflect on the fact that I’m at a point now where I love thinking of memories of him and us. I enjoy them and can laugh and smile at them. Where they used to be so painful, now they are a beautiful part of my past and who I am now. They are a beautiful part of who we were together. I am so grateful for that.

I also let myself go with the possibility that it was him saying hello. He was letting me know he was happy. It’s harder for me to be upset when I picture him full of joy, being silly, without pain and being able to run and dance. And maybe that’s what he wanted me to see.

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