It’s me, Shelly. Today I was thinking about this concept. How much death and grief stole from me. That they allow us time to slow down, to assess life and adjust to the loss. But for months I felt like I was living in a shell of myself. That as much as I was fighting to live. I wasn’t me. I was widow Shelly. A version of myself just trying to survive. I’ve been fighting like hell for life, to be happy amongst tragedy.
About a month ago, I caught myself slow dancing in the living room with the boys to the song “Feels like home to me.” That night it felt like Legos clicking together piece by piece. I was back. But I didn’t know at the time if I was ready for that. Was I ready to quit talking about my loss? To jump head first into all life has awaiting us? Was I ready to say that no matter the tragedy I accept that our little family is complete. This is who we are. And we can find joy even amongst the rubble. So I tip toed around the idea. The idea of not constantly having to finish every proclamation of joy with the statement, but we still miss Fareed. We will ALWAYS miss Fareed. But he’s not here. This is our family. Complete in its brokenness. And we are still joyous! I refuse to let the sting of death rob us of our days.
11 months ago I wrote, “I hope that the dancing bubbly girl you fell in love with, returns.” Just last week Fareed and my song had came over the radio. It never does anymore, and I was in deep tears. Tears that have subsided. But I will tell you, our senses are Griefs strongest outlets. It wasn’t the bubbly girl that had since risen from the ashes. And I will give myself grace because I do believe moments like this will always happen. But it was hard. Really hard.
Which brings me to tonight. A night I never want to forget. Please friends, never let me forget. Not different than many. I cleaned up after a yummy supper of enchiladas. The boys playing with blocks in the living room. I turned on Pandora radio (which only happens once every week or two) and we started to jam. Let me tell you, I don’t believe in coincidence. Things happen for a reason. Or at least in my world they do. And the first two songs to play were songs that old boyfriends had sang to me in my very younger years. (Because who are we kidding, I’m still young) They didn’t remind me of old love. But of an old Shelly. A Shelly untainted by grief, and extreme heartache. A Shelly who once wore crazy hair styles, and wore one gauge in her ear. A Shelly who loved to connect the people around her. A Shelly who loved dancing. A bubbly Shelly, full of life. A Shelly who would call her friends at midnight and ask them to go to the beach until sunrise. A Shelly who lived Life.
You see, God knew if he reminded me of Fareed it would bring me to tears. (Even though Fareed brought me extreme joy.) So he reminded me of me. Of Shelly.
And as Ingrid Michaelson, the Weepies, and my memories of years past paused in my head- I looked over at the boys. Both still repping (organic) Oreo beards from tonight’s dessert. William sitting in the Chair jamming out on his toddler chime piano. Charles walking around, gleaming and swaying to the music. I ran to get the toddler guitar I had bought William so he can give the piano to Charles. I remember the dreams I have of them learning to play music so we can do just this, dance together in the living room. The future was within my reach, and dreams were taking flight. Dreams of a home filled with music, laughter, and joy. Not structural grief dreams that keep me afloat for the day.
I imagined my guy friends teaching the boys guitar chords. And refreshing my piano skills to teach them myself. I saw it.
Our little, broken, but beautifully complete family.
And I knew I was back.
That bubbly dancing girl Fareed fell in love with. The one I asked for him to cheer on.
I’m ready to let go.
I’m ready to let go of the tragedy.
Fareed was one of the most beautiful parts of my story thus far.
And the biggest reason why is because he fell in love with the Shelly who would dance in the living room, playing music with her two amazing sons.
He fell in love with the Shelly who loved life and knew life loved her right back.
And while I never can be the Shelly pre grief, pre loss.
I am still me.
Ready to dance.
And ready to let go.
And see where the music takes us.
So here I am.
It’s me, Shelly
Friends I ask you, remind me of Old Shelly. The Shelly who lived with deep courage and relentless passion. Mix her with momma Shelly and the wisdom of Widow Shelly. Add a little music and dance the night away with my Boys and I.