“It can’t all be sorrow, can it? I’ve always been alone, so I don’t feel the lack. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never experienced loss because I’ve never had a loved one to lose. But what is grief, if not love persevering?” – Vision
This week has been a challenging one, because it ended with Rocket’s first birthday not physically with us. For the last 10 years, Rocket’s birthday has kicked off a 3-month string of birthday celebrations. We would start on March 19th by putting up a “Happy Birthday” banner for Rocket that would stay up through my son’s birthday in April and my birthday at the end of May. We would fill the living room with balloons, put a candle in a cupcake, and help Rocket blow it out while telling him that he was the answer to all of our birthday wishes.
This year, we hung a new “Happy Birthday” banner, blew up some balloons, made puppy chow, and shared our favorite memories of Rocket. We decided as a family that March 19th would forever more be known as “Rocket Day.” It would be an official family holiday.
The boys of the house have made it though the weekend so far without crying. I, however, woke up crying and haven’t stopped for long. The quote above has come to mind more than once this weekend. When I first heard it, I thought of Rocket.
“But what is grief, if not love persevering?”
Before Rocket came along, I wasn’t much of a crier. He taught me that it was okay to be sad sometimes. Somehow he always knew when I was about to cry. He would come over, moments before the tears fell, and put his head against me. Whether it was from a sad part in a movie or a broken heart, he always knew and held space for the emotions to come through.
Our first annual Rocket Day, which we turned into Rocket Weekend, has been a bit uneventful. The boys have spent the weekend diving into video games in their respective gaming locations (aka the man cave and the teen boy room). As for me, I’ve been powering through it as best I can. The pandemic blocked any attempts at a big blow out, but I think that’s okay. I wouldn’t make it through any type of social gathering without breaking down. I feel like Rocket would be okay with that. Instead I spent time outside with Rocket’s little sister Daisy, who joined our family a few months after he passed. We sat in the grass, watched the clouds roll by, and tossed a tennis ball. All activities that I know Rocket would approve of.
I’m planning a big celebration that I hope to host next year for the neighborhood dogs and close friends of Rocket (it’s a big list, he was a bit of a social butterfly). But until it’s safe, any kind of social gathering will have to wait.
This year, I’m holding this thought closely, “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”
It’s a beautiful way to look at grief and loss. Neither can exist without love. It comes to reason that the deeper the love, the deeper the grief. What a blessing it is to know a love like this.