The song "Take it All" by the amazing Adele is one that speaks to me as I journey through the grief process.
Actually, it spoke to me even before Mark passed away. Probably because I knew he was going to (have to) leave me. I've really been grieving for, like two and a half years.
The lyrics are most obviously about a break-up. My husband and I didn't break up, but I've always thought that many love/break-up songs can easily be applied to other circumstances; felt in other ways, for other reasons.
There was no "giving up so easily" or questioning of love....
But do you see?
Before Mark died it spoke to my caregiving:
Didn't I give it all?
Tried my best
Gave you everything I had, everything and no less
Didn't I do it right? Did I let you down?
Nothing is better than this and this is everything we need
Just take it all with my love
Now, it speaks to my grief:
Maybe you got too used to having me 'round
Still how can you walk away
From all my tears
It's gonna be an empty road without me right here
But go on and take it, take it all with you
Don't look back at this crumbling fool
Just take it all with my love, take it all with my love
It also speaks to what I have to do now, what lies before me:
I will change if I must
Slow it down and bring it home, I will adjust
Oh if only, if only you knew
Everything I do, is for you
I have had to take two of my hats off: wife and caregiver. "Wife" is replaced with "widow" and "caregiver" with "single mom". I'm happy to shed "caregiver"; not so much "wife", obviously. I'm not someone's wife/spouse/partner/significant other anymore. I no longer have a co-parent.
Somehow, listening to Adele sing this song makes me feel good. Stronger. It validates my love for Mark and how I put my whole heart and soul into our marriage.
* * *
Because so much has changed since last May, my word for this year is New.
It popped into my head about five seconds after I saw a Facebook post from someone who had started thinking about what her word should be for 2017. "New" was the first word I thought of, and I couldn't shake it. Nothing else seemed more appropriate.
Does this mean I have grand plans for trying new things or taking risks?
Contrary to everything ever written about my zodiac sign, Aries, I am NOT a risk-taker.
To me, having the word "New" guide me through the year is more of a reminder that I'm in all new territory now. A huge chunk of what I understood and counted on about my life -- based my identity on -- is null and void.
Going forward, everything is new. It is new simply because Mark is gone and I have never adulted without him.
And "new" doesn't sound scary.
It actually sounds like a gift. Something to be excited for.
* * *
It's interesting. Over about the last month or so I've noticed a distinct shift in my grief. I hope this isn't premature to say, but I don't feel like I'm actively grieving anymore.
Does that make sense? Perhaps I've reached the acceptance stage, as they say.
Mark and I loved each other so much that my heart is still very full of that love. And while I'll always be sad that our time together had to end, that love never will. I get to claim our life together and have it to be proud of.
Mark's strength and courage made me strong and brave. I can, and will, move on with my life.