For more than a year, this old mattress and rolled up rug were propped up against the wall in my garage—among the last vestiges of my old life. With the help of friends, we'd removed this mattress and built an IKEA platform bed. This event on a Saturday afternoon in April felt like another milestone. The mattress and platform bed were purchased with that year's tax return, so I didn't add to the present credit card debt balance.
A few days later the Casper mattress arrived, and I'd power lifted the box up my stairs by myself. I'd also removed the shrink wrap and managed to get the bed onto the platform.
My mettle had been tested, and I'd proved to myself again that I was up for the present challenge. It felt so good to sleep in a new bed free of the sadness and disappointment that the old mattress had come to symbolize. I also felt super adulty to finally have a proper bed—with head and foot board for the first time.
But that jolt of energy soon dissipated, and again, I felt overwhelmed. This is what grief does. It strikes one's energy like the insects who fly into a bug zapper. My garage is over-sized, and I only have one vehicle, so it wasn't really in my way.
What I know now after I dragged that mattress down the driveway on pick-up day is that there was more grieving to be done and sometimes a call to schedule a bulk waste pick-up feels too heavy, too much. In the midst of grief, one must learn to prioritize and conserve energy, and in doing so, only essentials get accomplished. Even then, sometimes the essentials get benched.
A week later with the garage cleared of the stock pile of items I deemed no longer needed, I feel so light. I feel a surge of energy. What I also realize is that that sense of overwhelm has been a life-long weight I've carried on my slim shoulders.
My divorce kicked up so much dust that wasn't directly related to my marriage. It was a catalyst for excavating and examining older artifacts from earlier periods of my life. By the time I felt energized to make the call to 'please come carry away that mattress' I was able to kick other things to the proverbial curb.
Besides being an energy zapper, if done with patience and grace, grief can also be a healer. There is no magic number, but the three years I have sat with my sadness, disappointment, frustration, disbelief, and exhaustion have healed me. With the power of a magnifying glass, I have examined the things that hurt and weighed me down. And with thorough analysis, I am ready to let go of them and move forward, to live a new and fuller life.
It is a remarkable feeling to feel so light, so capable of weathering the emotions that cross my path from day to day, and to not feel like I'm going to suffocate anymore. Nearly every corner of my home feels renewed. I own the space that used to be shared. As I have physically moved and removed my belongings, I have also rearranged the mental furniture. My thoughts and habits better reflect who I choose to be today and who I am working to become tomorrow. I no longer bump my shins into patterns that harm me or obstacles that keep me from my dreams and my goals.
It's remarkable what one sweaty trip down the driveway dragging a heavy, memory-laden mattress can do for one's outlook. I sleep so much better these days. Sweet dreams, indeed.