Seeking days of laughter
This time next week I’ll be in Hawaii on route to a long list of destinations in America. From our very first Skype chat, Cam talked about his desire to go back to the US. After that conversation, he planted a seed in my heart and for our entire short-lived relationship we talked frequently about it and tried a few times to plan a trip to the US together. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
It was still in my heart to go to America after Cam died so I’m traveling there on my own for 10 weeks. Well, not on my own, I know that God will be with me. I feel an assortment of emotions. Excited, of course, to be travelling and seeing a new country; terrified to be travelling alone yet I’m also peaceful; I have a sense of relief to finally go on the trip Cam and I talked about so much; and sad that Cam won’t be with me. It’s strange actually, before Cam passed away, I had a dream that I was planning to travel to America on my own. I dismissed it at the time because I believed that Cam would live.
The month before Cam passed, he asked me to scatter some of his ashes at Pretty Place in South Carolina where he worked at the YMCA Camp for three summers many years ago. He had such fond memories of his time there and when he showed me a picture of Pretty Place, I could see why he loved it. So during this trip, I will be going to Pretty Place with Cam’s ashes to honour his wish.
I don’t expect to get complete closure by the end of the trip, but I do feel that it will be the start of letting go of the grief. Since Cam passed, I have obviously experienced loss. But feeling loss is also a choice. Yes, when you lose someone you love, you automatically have a sense of loss. We also need to allow ourselves to feel the loss. This may mean wallowing in self-pity for a time (not forever), crying when you need to, yell and scream (preferably in a private place away from the ears of the public – it could look a little strange), having time alone, spending time with people who you know naturally give you comfort, spending time away in a new place, revisiting old places where memories are strong, or you might pour out your heart to God or someone you trust and say “This hurts. It’s not fair. This is not what I hoped and prayed for and yet it happened. I just don’t understand why.” All these things I have been doing to allow myself to feel the pain and loss but now it’s time to start letting go. It will take time. How much time? Who knows. However much time is necessary.
The phrase I have heard the most since Cam died is “time heals.” I don’t believe this is a true statement. If I ignore what I feel, avoid the pain and don’t face the grief, things will only get worse as time passes. I am responsible for creating an environment for myself for healing and I need to work at it. I need to set goals for myself and recognise milestones when I feel I’ve taken a step forward no matter how small. Time heals, but I’ve got work to do too, and with God’s help, the pain will come to an end.
“… The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.” (Psalm 30:5 MSG)