"I can see us, lost in the memory….August slipped away into a moment in time…'cause it was never mine…”
-Taylor Swift. 2020.
So, I did a thing. I got my first puppy AND my first tattoo. In the same week! It seemed extreme, but I feel up for the challenge. September is here. I can’t believe it.
Last September is etched forever in my whole being. I can still feel it at a cellular level. New protocols in our schools. Darcy going back to work after six months of lockdown. Oregon was burning and the smoke was thick up here in Vancouver. Taylor Swift’s newest album ‘Folklore’ was on repeat in our house. With its moody melodies and deep dark storytelling, I still feel like it’s the soundtrack to what would unfold in my life, a little later that month.
“I think I’ve seen this film before, and I didn’t like the ending.”
OMG. Truer words were never spoken right?
As we round out our first year without Darcy I can fully feel a big change in my level of grief and it feels good. Mostly. This summer disappeared in the best way – lots of big accomplishments for the kids in learning to swim, moving through more “firsts” like camping without Dad and getting their puppy "Cash", missing our usual Labor Day getaway but creating MORE new traditions with new friends. It wasn’t all easy and there were many shifts for me. Some were painful or awkward or hard, and some were ALL those things at once. Some felt like relief and release and progress and the key to getting through them was the allowance of those feelings. The acceptance of what is and all that goes along with the IS-ness. I am, in so many ways, a completely different person than I was a year ago. A new level of independence is here, but still a deep connection to the love I feel for Darcy.
"...all along there was some invisible string, tying you to me..."
If you know me personally or follow my blog, you’ll know how much music means to me and how it has accompanied me on this trek through loss. I can actually kind of measure my progress in healing by my ability to listen to certain music. It’s helpful. Like having an ‘odometer’ for my heart…or something. Oh, you guys know I don’t know a thing about a motor vehicle or what an odometer even is…I don’t know why I said that! Just some kind of meter, okay?!
For example, you’ll remember that the 80’s songs that grace the start of every blog post here are significant because that was the only genre of music I could listen to in the early days of my grief. The feelings that were associated with the music of my youth were BIGGER than the feelings that came with the music I associated with Darcy. (Check out the post titled “Grieving To The Oldies” for the philosophy there!) It was safe, feel-good music. No big triggers…not like listening to that damn ‘Folklore’ album which became torturous for me.
“I think I've seen this film before…so I’m leavin' out the side door…”. Are you kidding me right now?! He never left out the side door, except on THAT day. He left out the fucking side door. You cannot make this shit up.
Anyway, I am happy to say that I know my healing is coming along well – I am feeling ready to step away from identifying so strongly with my grief. I am feeling ready to step toward all the new and magical possibilities that are coming for me. I know this because, first, as a result of Darcy’s death, I was drop-kicked into an accelerated spiritual awakening and was given the gift of a year of unexpected growth and transformation. I have developed a deeper understanding of myself, my connection to a Higher Power, my purpose and my calling to lead in the field of possibility and positivity. Second, I know I am healing because I can now officially enjoy listening to that T. Swizz album again!!! For reals, I can DO it and I had to revisit the whole album to choose some quotes for this post and I totally enjoyed it. I don’t even have to cling to the 80’s anymore! This is good news! The odometer said so! And best of all, my faith allows me to know that Darcy can watch me transforming and healing. He can see the kids and I. Thriving. Sparkling. Living.
“…hush…I know they say the end is near...but I’m still on my tallest tiptoes, spinning in my highest heels, love, shining just for you…”
I know everyone is expecting September to be super upsetting for me. It makes sense that it would be. Not least because of the global shit show that is going on in our society with regards to personal freedom right now. Navigating that with peace in one’s heart is a struggle, to say the least, but I intend to do just that. Also, September 8th is the first day of school AND it lands on what would have been Darcy’s 50th birthday. September 24th will mark the first anniversary of his death. It’s quite a packed month. Honestly, I am trying not to get too hung up on dates. We aren’t forgetting him. Just moving along and allowing ourselves the freedom that comes when we don’t stay too attached to the upsetting details of the past. It just doesn’t serve us in any way. A date is just a date. New, great things will happen on those dates every year and that is where our focus will land. On new, great things. On possibility.
“…you’re a flashback, in a film reel, on the one screen in my town…”
I know I am supposed to feel sad and I AM prepared to feel whatever comes up – I am getting good at that - but mostly, when I feel into my body, all that’s there is a massive amount of gratitude in my heart for Darcy’s incarnation on this earth. For our souls' contract. What a gift he was and continues to be for me and the kids. He’s the gift that keeps on giving, as they say. He is everywhere for me. In Miller and Summer’s faces while they sleep, he is still here. In my own voice when I say the things that he used to say all the time. Those little Darcy-isms that have not faded for us. He is still here. In the safety and security we have, in our comfortable home, the food in the fridge, in the love that is imprinted in every cell of our bodies and now in the ink on my arm. It all says “He was here. He is still here.”
“But I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss, I knew you’d haunt all of my what if’s…”
(The tattoo I designed represents our family. It is a sketch of the Wildflowers for each of our birth months and, of course, Darcy's death month - September. Intertwined forever and always. And at the roots...the mantra 'Sat Nam' which has seen me through the darkest of days. It means "Truth is my essence. Truth is my name.")
And so, as I write this post, September actually has me ready to celebrate because as I have been reflecting on my relationship with myself I realize that it has changed exponentially for the better in this last year. That may sound callous or insensitive, but I am not saying it’s better because he is gone. Of course not. That part sucks. It’s just better because I was willing to accept the challenge life threw at me and approach it with a focus on the possibility that maybe, despite great loss, uncertainty and heartbreak, life can be extraordinary, joyful and abundant. I was willing to explore the possibility that maybe those things are not mutually exclusive. I was willing to believe in the possibility that those emotions and experiences could live together, peacefully, in me and my kids, every day. And so it is. Now THAT is worth a celebration.
(PS. I promise I’ll try not to “...blow all the money on the boys and the ballet”. wink wink.)
Til Next Time,
Heal & Be Healed.
Gratuitous picture of our new puppy "Cash".
A tiny reminder of the many ways abundance flows to us and through us.