I had thought today would be hard, but just like my birthday and Christmas I made it through this day, and I’ll make it through the night, and tomorrow, and the days after.
Sitting here in the relative silence of my room, since it can only be so quiet with fireworks going off, I’m struck by how much I have been changed by the experiences I have had this year.
It started with running my first Warrior Dash on February 6th, an event I am about to do again. That race helped me overcome so much negativity in my past. Hurtful comments. Self-doubt. Things which were like cancer, eating away at me from the inside, irradicated. Gone. A stronger me taking the place of the person I had been only an hour before, emerging from the last giant mud pond with the unshakable truth of knowing I had completed the race. I WAS good enough and I had proven it to the most important person; myself.
Then March 28th dawned. At three in the morning I woke to what seemed like an endless stream of messages on my phone from my family trying to reach me while I slept with my phone on silent.
Mom was in surgery and we didn’t know if she would make it. I spent five hours on the first plane I could get to. Five hours of not knowing if she would be there when I landed. Five hours of begging the Universe with everything I had for her to hold on long enough for me to say goodbye.
This year taught me what it truly means to beg. I feel that is something most people don’t understand, can’t understand until they are in such a situation. Until it’s life versus death and you would give literally everything in your whole existence if only for a few more moments of life.
The two weeks that followed allowed me to understand what true devotion is. I devoted two weeks of my life to the kindest, most caring, most loving person I will ever have the grace to know. There were a lot of excruciatingly hard moments while mom was in the hospital, but there were a lot of really good moments, too, and I cherished every moment of every day because those were moments she was alive. Even if it was a bad moment it was amazing and I clung to it for not knowing if it would end.
And then April 4th, 2016.
It’s a cold, sobering fact in my life. Saying those words, typing them doesn’t cause the anguish it once did. It’s not that the words are easier. It’s more like the grief I feel is something I have grown accustomed to. I understand it better. I cope with it better.
At first, I raged against it. Struggled. Fought. I tried to control it with logic and rationalizations.
But emotions don’t work that way, and the more I tried to force the emotions to be something they weren’t, the more they swelled up until they were overpowering tidal waves that pulled me down, submerged me, immersed me until the only things in life were the emotions I tried so hard to deny.
For the longest time, I struggled with accepting the terms “grief” and “grieving”. They felt so hollow, so empty. They didn’t encompass everything I felt. They didn’t capture the burning, scorching fire of rage. They didn’t capture the sinking feelings of hopelessness and isolation. They didn’t convey the apathy and flatlined stillness that filled most of my days. They didn’t carry the icy weight of abandonment.
It wasn’t until someone made the offhanded comment that grief transforms a person that I began to understand what I was going through. Grieving is a type of transformation. It’s not a destination or an emotion. It’s a process wrapped up into a single word.
Transformations take effort, and energy, and willpower, and time.
Looking back at all of the events, mentioned and unmentioned, which transpired this year I’m left aware of how this year has shown me who I am.
I am my mother’s daughter. I am one of many people who continue to carry her light. I will shine, and guide, and mentor, and I will be the person my mother raised me to be.
My resolution this year isn’t to form a new habit. It’s not a goal or a number to reach or a career placement to achieve.
My resolution is to be happy.
That was one of my mom’s last wishes for me. For me to be happy.
It took me six months to legitimately feel that emotion again. Long enough that I began to doubt my ability to feel it. I had begun to think I was broken. Damaged. My heart chakra marred for the rest of forever.
I’m not broken, though. I can still feel happiness and I will honor her wish. I will honor it this year and every year following.
I will live my life and I will live it in such a way that I am happy.