As I sit listening to a playlist of relaxation music on YouTube, tones of piano fill my ears, and I’m reminded of weekly massages that seem a distant memory now. Just one of many reminders of how quickly life changes. The biggest reminder staring me in the face from the fence line of my backyard. An entire corner of the yard, dedicated to three of the greatest loves of our life, sitting brazenly barren amidst the sand and weeds of my horrific backyard. I dream of one day planting a beautiful flower garden where the dirt happily glares back at me, but for now, I do my best to traverse the waters of continual change.
A week ago, I felt like I would die from the pain in my heart. A continual flow of pain and tears consumed me, leaving me a puddle of exhaustion and confusion. Weighed down by sadness, heartbreak, and guilt, I found myself desperate to feel the pain while also navigating our way through it. I’ve lived in extremes my entire life, a cycle of ups and downs I became accustomed to as a child. A life survived by never allowing myself to feel anything. That is until everything buried within festered and boiled over. These days I do my best to live life in perpetual balance, or at least in the pursuit of such.
Last Monday, I knew we had to allow ourselves to feel what we were (and are) feeling but I also knew we had to find a healthy way to move forward. In seasons past, I may have ignored the situation by checking out for fear of being rejected, but the trajectory of change had different plans. I’ve felt things shifting in our lives for years but even more so this past year. In no way have things been ‘easy,’ but in many ways, they have been necessary. If I’ve learned anything throughout the seasons of my life, it’s this; we are not meant to live this life as a stagnant puddle of water, accumulating filth and bloodsucking mosquitoes. No, we are meant to flow – some days we are the raging waters of change and on others, we are the cool calm flow of a lazy day, but never are we meant to be motionless.
I could have bathed in the murky waters of grief and guilt forever or I could have buried it all, pretending it would never come back to haunt me, but instead I decided to feel it while purposefully moving forward. I decided my husband Ed needed a project, something to occupy his mind and body. These past five months have been rough, as his ADHD does not allow for sitting still without distraction. Months of television, food, and soda culminating in a winter of being frozen in place has led me to regain the reigns of perceived control. The control I seek these days has little to do with passive-aggressive manipulations or nagging. Instead, I’m learning to lead by example. I’m also regaining my voice and the strength to say what needs to be said, when and how it needs to be said.
A project for Ed turned into a family project, a temporary distraction snowballing into a world of change. The signs of two senior dogs that once filled every sense of our being, replaced by bare concrete floors, free of pet stained carpet, and all items associated with Skittles and Scribbles. Mixed feelings of newness and guilt swirling in my mind as my son ponders, ‘we seem to be removing all traces of their existence.’ The new paint on the walls signaling a new season of life. At first, I wanted to rid us of all of it, every bit of the pain enveloping us, but then I realized I had to face my own discomfort for the three of us.
A month of family meals, prayer and gratitude have led us here. The power of loss and grief catapulting us into a new season of life. The phrase ‘change begets change’ bouncing around in my mind for days…. An idea I never pondered before, but one that makes perfect sense. I’ve always known that ‘life doesn’t happen by accident.’ If you’re unhappy about something, change it. If you can’t change your situation, then you change your point of view. For me, life is about living and loving to the fullest while facing every fear and discomfort head-on. The more I push forward, the more I learn and grow. The more I learn and grow, the more I understand the importance of life.
Seasons change, and days come and go, but in the end, the only thing that matters is love. Life is love and love is life – there is nothing else!