Four years have gone since the day my husband died. The day I got a phone call asking “Where are you headed”, so the Dayton Police Department could meet up with me to deliver the worst news of my entire life. July 8, 2015 was the date that all of the emotions I felt on that day became hardwired into my DNA…disbelief, anger, anxiety, shock, etc. The world could lock me in a padded room and take away the key, but each year my body anxiously anticipates this day as though I’m going to hear the news all over again. Cells carrying those emotions start leaking out from the deepest crevices of my body and now, even though my mind has processed through the grief over the years as much as one could, I sit here with my body feeling tensed up and ‘almost’ paralyzed from the anxiety that has worked it’s way throughout my body over the past week.
Our minds are a powerful thing and even while I sit here on this day, why is it that my mind has to fight my body for control? Why is it that I have to try to get it to relinquish its hold on me, so that I can stop feeling the pain of the past and replace it with all of the good feelings Andy always gave me? I’m certain that if I wrote a book I’d be researching that very topic, because it’s one that I keep revisiting each and every year. Just doing a quick google search this morning on “what is it called when your body remembers and your mind doesn’t” led me to a plethora of articles that people had written where all of the emotions of a past traumatic experience come flooding back when something as simple as a word that is spoken triggers those cells to force the mind to remember their loss as if we ever truly forget.
The day that Andy died all of the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that consumed me became hardwired into every cell of my body. As time has passed, some of these cells began to heal as my mind started to feel joy, peace, happiness, and love; however, some of those cells retreated and took shelter in the most inaccessible places in my body refusing to be phased by all of the progress I had made. Those cells remain dormant waiting for days like today to remind my brain that it should be feeling melancholy, anger, bitterness, or anxious just in case I may have forgotten. No I haven’t.
I see the date on the calendar and each year I wonder what I’m going to do to honor my late husband. Will I do something amazing or let these emotions consume me and hide under the covers all day waiting for the world to find me. As my sister reminded me the other day, Andy was a man of action. He didn’t wait around for the world to come to him or wait to let his thoughts manifest into something tangible. He walked out the door every morning knowing exactly what he wanted to accomplish for the day and most weeks he didn’t stop until what he had envisioned became reality. Everyone admired him for that and he was always willing to help others dreams (particularly in the world of customizing cars) become reality.
Even though, as I sit here and type this morning, my body is trying to wrestle my mind to keep me from doing the things that I’ve set out to do today. Whether in the mind or body, emotions in general can paralyze us from moving forward allowing us to do what we’ve desired to do. In honor of Andy, I’m taking control and today all of these cells that have come out of hiding waiting to take hold of my mind like a virus or disease will be rewired once and for all. They won’t be going back into hiding, because I refuse to push them away nor let them consume me. They are going to come along for the ride as my 12 year old and I ride scooters through San Antonio and walk the streets of the Alamo. They will feel the happiness when we road trip up to Austin later today and reminisce about the beautiful memories we hold of Andy. They will feel the inner peace that consumes me, because I won’t let my past infiltrate my future. We will keep moving forward in honor of him. Doing the things we want to do when we want to do them. DISBELIEF, ANGER, ANXIETY, SHOCK…your work here is done, because no amount of effort you put in will steal my joy. I AM FOREVER CHANGED.