m i c h a e l

Each year today comes around.

It’s not like I have a choice.

They are like the tide.

I had been on auto pilot for a lot of the early years after you went home to Jesus, not yet having strategies in place to make anniversaries more doable.

The strategies came and these were to distracted from, and be more intentional in how I walk into and through these days. Sometimes they worked, mostly they worked, but in all honesty, regardless of what’s so graciously been put in place, these days are a mixture of emotions and experiences. It’s ok not to be ok.

When I started to draft this blog over a month ago it felt like I’d been kicked in the guts of lost moments beside thankfulness in having the time I did with you and the regrets of not doing those times better verses not doing them anymore. It’s messy.

The process of grief is just that. Messy. There is no “right” way to do it.

The teary, long, repeatable inaudible sounds that the Holy Spirit gets to regularly interpret have no shape or recognisable sound. Can they ever be as raw as the first moments when this journey begins?

Today marks 19 years without Michael. When I think of you I smile. I have joy today as I wake and think of you. Your goofy laugh still rings in my ears as I remember how it sounds. I reflect on how I once wrote there were no longer enough photos of you as the camera no longer gets to capture more of your memories. Now it captures more of ours. And it’s ok. You are carried in our hearts. Even on the days you don’t enter our thoughts.

Life continues without you.

I may have many times of tears to come, but today they are of joy.

Today I reflect on the Melbourne lockdown over the last couple of months while navigating this time. Boy did it make memory days tougher. My usual strategies of escape not in play. So a month ago I started to make an artwork as a new strategy. It started to come to life from two photos taken a year apart. Michael sporting his shaved head after raising money for child cancer research for Bluey day and a photo is me sporting my shaved head, following in my big brothers footsteps a year later in honour of him. The artwork still sits as a group of different sketches and line drawings in my studio waiting to have some studio play time to see how I want to complete it. Today I chose to leave the artmaking for another time, if ever. Today here we are. A photo of Michael in his last year of his life this side of heaven and a photo of me in my first year of walking without him. He was my safe place and always there when I needed him.

Today I ponder the “I miss you” thoughts that are not centre stage anymore. They are there, but there is also peace from the covering of prayer and the presence of my God who carries all my junk and hears all my pain in all its forms and loves me so intesly to bring healing to the worst days of my life. Thank you God!

Today I can say outloud “I love you Michael”, and chuckle as I apologies for saying it while in the bathroom.

You’d get a laugh out of that new memory. I know I did.