Moving Forward

Journal Entry written on March 9, 2006 during a couple of days that teased us with Spring before Minnesota snow hit again this week. 

How do you move forward when it feels like if you moved backwards you
would be closer to what you lost?  If I go backwards, maybe I have a
chance to find Shawn again; or at least an irrational possibility to
stay close to him.  My mind reasons and my heart concurs that if I go
forward I run the risk of moving further away from the life I knew and

I opened the windows today – the fresh spring air filled my house and
it smelled new.  The stagnant air of death was replaced with a
cleansing breath.  For a minute I soaked in the joy that comes with
warm weather, sunshine and a light breeze.  Then panic swept over me.
I was tempted to close the windows.  I don’t want to experience this
new season without Shawn; the lighter air, the warmth through the glass
pane, the melting snow.  Winter is a perfect season for my grief.  It
has provided hibernation for me.  The dark, cold season parallels my
isolation.  It is a symbolic and natural way for me to escape inside
despair.  I can relate to this season where life stands still and find
solace in its lonliness.  If winter was a mood it would describe my
frame of mind perfectly.

Shawn died on a warm September day.  He did not know of the winter that was to come.  How can I enjoy the spring?  How can I enjoy anything without Shawn?  Is this what it means to move forward?  Enjoying a new season alone?  Close the window.  Close all of the windows.  I want to close the windows and pretend it is still winter.  I don’t want to be happy without him. 

I noticed when I sensed this clear air in my house it was pure and clean and I took it in – exhaling sorrow and inhaling the uncomplicated goodness of spring.  I pushed through.  I left the windows open.  I forced myself to leave the windows wide open not as a way to move forward but in order to enjoy – not to move forward – but to benefit from the comfort of a pleasant day; to inhale this new air as a part of my new life.  To say “it’s time to feel good again” – if only for an afternoon.  This isn’t about moving forward – life without Shawn will never be accepted without pain.  His absence will never be unnoticed.  His sacrifice will never be forgotten.  No, this isn’t about going forward or backwards – this is about living.  This is about breathing in pure, warm, crisp, Spring air and keeping the windows open; engaging in life.  This is all about living.  This is why I had to keep the windows open today.

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