This morning, I took a moment to assess my expectations in anticipation of the anniversary of Carly’s death. Deciding that they were fuzzy, scattered, and unclear at best, I think it was only natural that I began going backwards in my mind to that Friday the 13th two years ago, and worked my way through time to the present. I find it’s easier to assess where I’m headed if I sometimes step back to look at where I started.
I’ve learned that my grief is much like a bull; strong and powerful. It’s presence is daunting and commanded my attention from the moment I was dumped head first over the fence, and into the corral. It didn’t take a genius to see that the bull's will to defeat me appeared to be unstoppable, but still, I slowly and carefully pulled myself right side up to face it directly. After a quick survey of my surroundings, I noted that I recognized the general landscape of my life in the distance, but this bull and the fence that kept me enclosed with it, made it feel too far away to ever hope to return. Every wary step was tracked, and my bull would re-position itself offensively with each direction I move toward. I felt trapped. I felt doomed. I hated this bull!
After a year of pensively rooting around in the corral for a comfortable place to sleep, and a decent position in which I could half-assed take a rest, I finally starting making plans that didn’t factor in the bull’s countermeasure. I mean, I hadn’t been gored to death yet so there must be a chance for me to win this stand off. Then one day, I just laughed, and it was refreshing because laughing was so hard to do for a while. But my laughter was like a spark plug for the engine of my soul. Fueled by utter refusal to give in, the engine was on, and I took one giant, determined step toward my bull. I hadn’t done this before and I could sense the bull was thinking something like, “Oh shit. What in the world is she doing?” Of course, he didn’t back down. He stood his ground but I wouldn’t stop there. I just kept taking step after step, no matter how small they were sometimes, until we were practically sharing the same breath. I didn’t get charged, or trampled or gored. I just stared him in the eye to let him know who’s really in charge, and then walked past him, and climbed out of the corral. I still see him every day as I walk past the corral, and the bull is always there looking at me. Wondering if today’s the day I’m gonna climb in there and kick it’s butt. I don’t think he knows I’m still a little too scared to get back in there. I’m just enjoying the victory of battle for now, but I know the war is not over. At least I know that I am every bit as strong as it is, and it is every bit as weak as me.