Writing these posts creates a lot of cognitive dissonance for me.

On one hand, I realize while writing them, how extensive grief is — MY grief, for Gabriel, is long-lasting and pervasive. Given a conversation I had with Dan earlier this week, I feel secure in saying that he feels similarly.

On the other hand, I realize that in spite of my grief, how full and blessed my life is.

Ten years ago, my life didn’t end.

Life as I knew it, sure. Life as I expected it to be, definitely.

And my husband and I went on, with giant-sized holes in our hearts, and we built — continued to build — our lives. Around that hole, in spite of that hole, and without shrinking that hole very much at all.

My evening last night revolved around two things: the white flowers I purchased for Gabriel’s grave and picking up a Rainbow Loom for my girls, who had fabulous school years and were being duly rewarded.

Today the girls and I left the flowers on Gabriel’s grave and headed out of town for the weekend to visit a friend and her daughter (and other friends). (M stayed at home with Daddy.)

Grief doesn’t end.

Grief doesn’t end our lives.

I would have realized this, about grief, sooner or later, I suppose. I sometimes wish it had been later, but then again, I don’t know what my life looks like without this grief.

Ten years. A decade.

And still the tightening of my throat, and the tears.

And still the joys and frustrations of being a parent to live, lively children.

And still.