This is the story of a widow who is using what she learned in her grief, in the destruction of the life she knew, to change that life. To change her world.
I feel like, for me, the best way to honor my husband, the loss of my best friend, my grief, the tremendous pain and the hope and beauty I now see in this warped yet wonderful world is to jump feet first into everything I have always wanted to do but either thought I couldn’t do it or felt it was too late. I want to try stand up comedy. I want to get good at the violin again. I want to write and write some more. I want to publish and publish some more. I want to grab this world and squeeze it like an orange to get as much juice out of it as I can. And, I will. I am.
One of the lessons I have taken from my grief is it’s never too late. Want to know why? Because life is short. These two platitudes are no longer platitudes for me. I get them with every fiber in my being. I get them with every cell in my body. I get it now and I refuse to let go of this realization. I refuse to be anything less than what I am.
My husband lifted me up, he was a beautiful man with a beautiful soul and I learned so much from our life together. He helped me in many ways that I’m still realizing and I want to cherish that by showing myself and the world that I have more in me. I have a lot more in me and I intend to let it out. All of it. Even if I fail, I win. That’s what this blog is about. I am going to chronicle my journey into becoming me. Who I am now and who I’ll be next month and who I’ll be next year. None of these are the same person.
Grief has also taught me about what’s really important. I mean really important. You know what isn’t important to me anymore? Having everything be perfect around me. I have given up on this unrealistic expectation of life. It will never be perfect because life is messy. It’s horrible and also wonderful all at the same time. Once you see that, it can be absolutely amazing.
None of these things occur in a vacuum. It’s not like I walk around with a goofy smile on my face appreciating life everywhere I look. I mean, I do but this is all intertwined with the sadness and yearning and loneliness that losing my husband left behind. And here is my third and what I consider most important lesson, I have learned how to make friends with this sadness, longing, yearning, grief, etc. I have learned how to recognize that these things are always going to be with me but they don’t have to take over anymore. There is room. There’s room for joy, there’s room for excitement and most importantly, there is room for hope.
Hope is the central thing in all of this. It’s what keeps me going. It’s what makes me appreciate what’s left and what is possible. Hope is what helps me see that the messiness of life isn’t always a bad thing. Flowers bloom out of concrete. Look at any part of the world that has suffered from war or natural disasters. The beauty of nature always finds its way around devastation and shows us all is not lost.
This life continues whether or not you accept the mess. I am making the choice to accept it and be the patch of wildflowers that grows through it.
We are never finished. There will always be something to overcome or pursue. Something to work through or champion. Life will always call to us. It can be a horrible, exhausting and dreadful thing. But also, in the grand scheme of things, it can be wonderful and amazing. Giving up is not a choice. Fulfillment comes from pushing through. It comes from growing and blooming out of concrete. Nothing is impossible.
(For you, Steven. My love. My inspiration.)
Image: Tree growing out of stump by Pierre Pechin