It was the mountains. Majestic peaks and jagged edges, they stared at me in the most intimidatingly, powerful, peaceful way. To be both intimidating and peaceful, it doesn’t happen often, under the norm. But that is the only way I could describe my feelings as I sat with a rose in hand, the breeze in my hair, the sun bright, in Napa Valley. A place I dreamed of with vines and wines for days. Sundresses and floppy hats, vineyards in the golden hour. Here I was, with each one at my finger tips, but it was the mountains that drew me.
To get here was more than just a 5 hour plane ride. It was the constant battle of guilt, anxiety and a longing to be home before I even left. But that’s the thing. It’s hard to go home, when home is in the heart of a person who’s no longer here. In reality, I’ve been homesick for months.
I survived the plane ride and day of travel. I sat at the high top bar on the roof top with views for miles, the busy hum of wine infused guests with the possibilities of adventure. It sounds so care free. In all honesty, a part of me longed to have not a care in the world. But that’s not grief. That’s not the mountains.
You see, the mountains hold a jaded beauty. Much like life after loss. From a distance, they can seem daunting, overwhelming as the highest point seems impossible to reach. The thought of ever getting there provokes immediate despair, anxiety. Even the small action of one step towards the mountain is filled with intimidation. Yet somehow, at the same time, that same mountain provides the ultimate peace. It’s strong, grounded and unwavering. Despite its steep sides, rocky cuts and sharp points, it stands proud, steadfast, unfiltered and filled with a quiet grace. It knows exactly which storm caused each jagged edge. It knows what it’s been through to be here, still standing.
Navigating each day after losing Joe brings its own set of challenges and my first trip, a big one at that, has been no different. I struggle constantly with truly letting grief and gratitude, heartache and happiness, anger and adventure co-exist in my new world, in my new heart. But I’m learning. Sometimes it’s the next minute and sometimes it’s the next milestone that send me into a tailspin of panic, rage and tears. And every time, I’m forced to keep moving, even the smallest step forward. Life with loss leave us with jagged edges, rough surfaces and dulled peaks. But I’d like to think, as years go by, we find ourselves much like the mountains, with a strong, jaded beauty.