I have not written in a while. I have lost several people close to me, and I felt like I couldn’t speak about it without first getting beyond the ache. But I have come to realize that the ache doesn’t leave. I have wrapped myself around it, tried to ignore it, gotten angry with it, and yet it remains. I now see that it is just becoming a part of me. Like the lines on my face, grief and grace have become a part of me, and in the process have colored my soul. I still have so many questions about why things happen the way they do, but I am learning to follow my heart path rather than the cynical one that my head tries to lead me down. I am at a loss for so many of the answers here, but I know that anger and bitterness will not help me feel closer to those people who are gone.
My boys have had to experience these losses, too. It is hard for me to watch them hurting and to see them as they come to terms with the end of a life. They are like mirrors for me, but ones which gives me a clear perspective, ballast, and hope that each loss carries with it some gift. I watch them sieze every moment of their days with such unbridled energy, and curiosity, and awe. They reflect for me, the certainty that a life filled with gratitude is the only way to weather the storms. I have been blessed by the joy, humor, and light from so many people who are no longer here. I think my biggest regrets are the moments where the thick cloud of my own anxieties and fears kept me from telling someone, “Thank you. You are a gift. The world is better because you are in it.” I so often get caught up in the process of getting from A to B, and from a.m. to p.m. I let myself become distracted by the noise and stark threat of deadlines and schedules. I lose sight of the fact that each moment is such a gift. To look at my world with anything other than boundless gratitude would be unthinkable. Of course, things get rough. We lose people we love, we struggle with fears and worries. Am I enough? Am I doing right by these boys? Do I have the strength to be content with never knowing some answers? But beneath it all, beneath all of those “Whys” and “What ifs”, I feel calm. I feel each breath, in and out, is the now I am meant to embrace. In every moment, whether it is painful, like the letting go I have had to do, or joyous, like watching my boys laughing and playing and growing up together…I am reminded that these moments are all so precious. I am trying to be here, now, rather than listening to the muffled sounds of chatter, pain, laughter, and tears while I sit in some empty room with walls made of my own worry and anxiety. God has given me this moment. I simply can’t waste it by wrapping myself in the uncertainty and trepidation of the paths that lie before me. I have to take each breath and each step for what it is. I need to be strong enough to feel the oxygen fill my lungs, and sense the solid ground beneath my feet without doubt. Where the steps lead, and what would have happened along paths I did not take is not something I can know. But I have to believe that there is a map, and while I may not be able to see it clearly, I feel certain that each step follows the path that I am meant to walk. I choose to believe that the people I have lost, really aren’t lost at all. In fact, they have been found and welcomed with love and grace, and my path will reach them all eventually. In the meantime. I will choose gratitude and hope. I will choose to be right here in it… in the wild, joyful, chaotic percussion of my life. I will choose breath and steps, revealing the blessings of each moment, one at a time…until I too, am lost and found.