Highs and lows, right? 2018 was chock full of them. The highs were inspiring, impressive and left me beaming with pride, particularly watching those kids challenging themselves way beyond their comfort zones, again and again.
But those lows. They knocked the wind right out of me, sent me spiraling and spinning. I have found that loss is never welcomed. There is no right time for it, no real way to plan for it and no instructions on how to get through it whole.
Of course, there is the continual loss of my mother, as she keeps fading away. That remains a constant in my life. But the loss of my brother turned my whole family on its head. It threatened to break us, and probably got close. Somehow, we made it through. Not always with grace. Not always the best versions of ourselves. But I believe my family has come out stronger, yet sadder.
But, as Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” There has been abundant light that permeated our darkest times and lifted us up.
There were those who showed up. By phone, by text, in person, some from very far away. Sending support, offering whatever they could to make sure we felt their love. There are no words to fully express how much that generosity mattered.
Then, there were those who have offered unexpected kindnesses that continue to bring me such comfort.
One of my brother’s close friends told me that he always respected and admired my strength. That floored me. There are about a million ways that I honor him in my thoughts, but while I know he loved me, I guess I do not really think about how he saw me. My brother can no longer share with me how he feels or what he thinks. But his friend extended me this insight which I otherwise never would have known.
From time to time, I have reconnected with someone who shares with me a story about my mother. Sometimes, it is something new, and how I cherish that, as my mother no longer has her voice. Whatever the memory, its value is immeasurable. While I try to keep the true essence of my mother, it can be hard to get beyond the present shell. When someone lovingly shares a story it somehow validates the way I know my mother felt about me and helps me feel her love.
Unfortunately, loss affects us all. Of course it does. We love too deeply to be spared.
Here is my challenge to you: Find a way to share your memory with someone who has lost. Tell your stories, even if they seem insignificant to you. You may have no idea of the impact that your recollection can make on one who will always, in some way, be grieving. With your words, you can bring a bit of their loved one back to them.
Be the gift. Bring that light.