I am no longer a stranger to grief. I know how he works, how he lurks, and I can usually feel him creeping up behind me. And now I know how to call him out from his hiding spot. How to face him, arms in the sky, white flag in my hand. Because once he attacks, he leaves me alone for awhile.
I have been feeling the tension for a week now. I have been feeling the weight of the tears. I have known it was too good to be true to get through Christmas without a meltdown. Yesterday I had a few tough moments, moments where the tears fell, and the anger began to creep back. Last night, I went in to kiss the boys good night, and I found Colton sleeping with his head on Lucas' monkey. My heart ripped open. I cried, talked to Lucas and Caleb's picture, and cried some more. Then when Willy came up to bed, I cried to him.
I woke up this morning knowing that this was the morning to call grief out, deal with him, and make him go away for awhile. I wanted to cry and grieve on my terms. In my own time, how I wanted to.
I fed the boys breakfast, made sure they were busy playing, and pulled out the twins' tote. I first found the prayer shaw that was made for me. I wrapped it around my shoulders and felt the comfort and warmth. I pulled out all the cards we've received and read all the thoughts and prayers that have been sent to us. I pulled out their ultrasound pictures. Pictures of them alive and well, safe in my belly. I opened their memory boxes and found the blood stains on each blanket. Proof that they were here. I cried over these the hardest.
I found shoes they should be wearing right now, cute little navy blue velcro. Caleb's lock of hair and a micro-preemie blood pressure cuff. It barely cuffs around my finger. Then there are the hats they wore and the sleepers they never will. Oh how I wish I would have sent someone to my house to pick them up so we could put the boys in them for a picture.
After 30 minutes or so, I carefully packed it all back, with so much tenderness and love. I kissed their blankets, tied their boxes, and put the lid back on. I dried my tears, hugged the monkeys, and sent my love to Lucas and Caleb. I took a shower to wash away the grief residue. And sent him on his way.
And I feel better. Much better and much lighter. I feel ready to enjoy and embrace all the great times that are coming up quickly. And I know that as I pushed through all this this morning, that I wasn't alone.
Take that, grief!