The time is coming. That date that started off this blog: July 19, 2013. The day we had to say goodbye to little Henley Hazel Romine after her fight with cancer. Every year I get the same feeling for a handful of days leading up to the date. I get a bit antsy, my chest feels heavier than typical, and I tend to be unable to sit still. It is a feeling that recognizes a vacancy sign in my body and moves in to remind me that my unconscious burden I carry. It becomes a conscious reminder of the magnitude of the day and the impact it had on all of us.
This evening we took our boys to get ice cream at Handel's. When you park and walk up to the ordering window, there is a brick support pillar. Each time we've been to Handel's over the years, I think of a time that we took Henley to get ice cream. I get deja vu thinking of the cutest picture that was taken of her posing in front of that same brick pillar holding her tiny cone. I never say anything, I just let my heart hurt and I silently grieve while we stand in line and everyone indecisively decides what delicious treat they'll be having. Instead of doing that tonight, I brought it up. When the woman handed us the boys' small cones, I asked Kelly, "Do you remember that cute picture of Henley holding one of these in front of that brick?" Of course she remembers.
It was a small talking point to bring up, but it was something that I have not done in the dozen or so times we've been there since she died. This Do Thirty challenge is a huge reason for that. In my second post, I talked about how it is crucial to allow yourself to feel your feelings and then be able to do something about them. These are huge shortcomings for me, but tonight was a small victory. I allowed myself to feel the grief, which in turn allowed me to bring up a memory about her, which brought my wife and I a happy memory, and then I got to come home and write about it. It was nothing mammoth, but hopefully it is a sign of many more of those breakthroughs to come.
What is even more serendipitous about me allowing myself to feel the grief is that when I got home, I went back to my old Facebook pictures to find the picture of Henley I am referencing. I noticed the date on the photo read August 8, 2010. That is the whirlwind day in which Henley was diagnosed. I shared one of my favorite pictures of her that day as we began entering into a journey that would impact our entire family forever. Also on that day I began documenting what was going on each day regarding treatment plans, test results, visitors, etc. With so much information bombarding them, I knew Lynsey and Grant would like to be able to look back and see what happened over those first few days as their new normal began. It is the last time I really remember writing. It wasn't really writing as much as jotting down unedited or planned out observations, but it really helped me remain calm during those first few days. Writing down various observations gave me a task and it allowed me to feel like I was helping.
Allowing myself to feel grief cascaded into a series of moments in which I went out of character and shared the memory of Henley with Kelly. Sharing that moment with Kelly prevented me from burying the feelings of sadness and grief deep into my unconscious and successfully transformed it into a feeling of happiness as we remembered Henley. Further, that cascaded into me going back to find the picture I was referencing which I had shared on Facebook, as it turns out, on the very day that Henley was diagnosed and that I last remember "writing" for therapy.
Crazy right? Agreed. Maybe this challenge is accomplishing something after all...
Again, if you are able, please consider donating to my cause by visiting this page. I am trying to raise enough money to send at least 3 children fighting cancer and their families on an all expenses paid journey called "Buzz Around Indy" as part of the Henley Romine BEElieve Foundation.