So it goes.
The past 5 or so years of life have been very enlightening for me. Tragedy and heartache can do that, illness can do that, the amazing and effervescent gift of life and love can do that, life it seems…does that. I comprehend a lot of things now that I wasn’t able to before.
When struck with an illness or the illness of a loved one, it becomes very difficult to focus beyond each day. Sometimes it become difficult just to get through the very hour that you’re existing in. You find yourself longing for moments to pass faster, wishing for a time before, desperately trying to will life back into that safe quiet place where the body does as it’s supposed to. Illness is after all the ultimate betrayal. This vessel which we expect to do the simplest of things, things that require no effort, can suddenly stop working. And so a part of us is gone, or a part of someone else is, or all of them completely…vanished forever. We emerge as something or someone new, maybe a half hearted version of our old selves and we have to re-learn what gives us that drive again. We have to find the spark that allows us to put our heads down and leap into the light of life without the fear of falling.
There is a moment where our mortality becomes evident in this process…and so we mourn. We mourn for what we lost or how we should have lead our lives differently. But the important part of this is that we then have a choice on how to spend the rest of our days. Do we spend them fretting over small and insignificant things like we did before? Or do we bring that focus inward, question our own actions, acknowledge our faults and fix them to become a positive blip in the lives of those around us. At some point, if we’re really lucky, we let go. We say so long to that old version of life, the one that we’ve perhaps idealized in our heads, and we move forward. We live like we never knew possible before. Even if it’s with a broken wing, even if it’s with an empty heart, even if it’s with the knowledge that life can sometimes be cruel and unfair to even the most undeserving of us all.
Every day I remind myself to step into my new life, to fill the emptiness with the joy that surrounds me. This is the true gift of overcoming our tragedies. Letting go of what we cannot change and embracing that which we are fortunate to still have.