I have been feeling pretty locked up the last few days. Joseph's 16th birthday is tomorrow, and for about a week now it has been slowly migrating into my chest and settling in there. The physical nature of grief doesn't frequently hit me anymore, so that when it does, it takes me by surprise and just exhausts me inside and out. I have had my share of tears, of wondering, of anger. I have also had my share of moments with him, with his presence as I now percieve it.
I have taken a huge step and am allowing Joe to go to the cemetery with me today to decorate Joseph's grave. His birthday is always on or just after Memorial Day weekend and so far I have always gone alone. I hate that it already feels familiar, just two years after his death. That I already feel like I have a "routine" for the difficult days, the anniversaries and punctuation points. I've always held my grieve close to my chest, but I have done a better job of sharing it with Joe this time around. I am finding it helps to tell him in a soft, matter of fact way that I am struggling. He is one of the most perceptive men I know and can always tell when something is "off" in me but does not always know why. That can leave a lot of room for interpretation and misunderstanding. Telling him I am grieving more actively, that I am in internal emotional pain, has helped him to know what's going on with my complicated self. Given that he actively desires to show me he cares about this pain in my heart, letting him know bluntly what is going on helps us both. Its taken me a while to be able to say it out loud to him and to admit it to myself when these waves of sorrow come upon me. Surrendering to the impenetrable nature of my grief has been difficult. It requires a degree of vulnerability and it requires an acceptance of the loss. Letting go of all vestiges of denial has been difficult, but has definitely happened at this point. Joseph is in heaven.
Life in all has been good. We close on both homes on June 5th, which is not far away. We will lease our current home on Gardenia back from the new owner for two weeks while we do some basic necessary cosmetic work in the new house. It is in need of floors and some paint, both of which are easier to do without any furniture in the home. Mom had a great idea when she came to see the new house yesterday, suggesting the boys, who have been angling for ways to earn some money this summer, be allowed to make painting the garage their own project. Joe and I are mulling that over and leaning toward a favorable decision. They can't do much damage out there and it will be a big enough job to keep them busy and make them stretch their work ethic, but not so huge as to overwhelm. They are both excited about their new rooms and think that having an "upstairs" to the home is the coolest thing ever. They are intrigued by the jetted tub in the master bathroom and grumbled a bit that there isn't one in the kids bathroom, which made me laugh. The house really is a big, wonderful project, needing cosmetic updating inside all over the place. Joe and I are both excited and looking forward to the transformation. I'll post pictures here as they come available. Here are a couple of the front of the home as it sits now, being eaten alive by overgrowth of shrubbery. One of the first orders of business after we move in will be cutting back the overgrowth so that you can actually see the house!