Driving through the roads of Kentucky, working on my goal of visiting every KY state park, the music is playing, the sun is shining, Obi has finally settled down to enjoy the ride and all is well. So why is it I begin to feel an emptiness in my gut? This is not the first time this empty feeling has come about when I begin to think things are going well.
I know exactly why the feeling is present. It is a feeling of guilt. Guilt that I am enjoying something that Todd and I had planned on doing together. I’ve decided that it is an intense feeling due to the fact that many of the events that bring me joy are things Todd and I would do, should be doing, together, like gathering with friends for a shrimp boil, playing cards with neighbors, or traveling to camp in Kentucky.
I’ve read many books and sought articles and blogs on grief. I usually search a specific topic when a feeling comes about and stays for a while. I spend some time processing the intense feeling, talking about it with others, and start writing. The writing for me helps get the thoughts out there. It is almost as if once I write, the feelings become less intense, as if the feelings jump from my mind to the paper (or computer.) This is not to say that I never have the feelings again, but it does help the intensity and frequency with the heavy thoughts.
The feeling of release from writing makes me think of all the journals filled with Todd’s writing throughout the years. Up until now, I never wrote anything on a regular basis unless it was a classroom/school newsletter. Todd however, wrote his own thoughts and feelings on a regular basis and I finally realize how helpful writing can be. It also reminds me of Todd’s wonderful mind. He was such a deep thinker which is a beautiful thing but heavy to carry as well.
So, I will continue to write, research, and grow through my journey of grief. While I’m sure I will continue to feel some guilt when doing the things we had dreamed of doing together, I will keep doing those things with the memories of Todd on my mind. It is the memory of 32 years together that fuels my journey and I am thankful for that!