It’s been almost a year since I bought my house and lived on my own with my girls. When I think about it, my initial reaction is to wonder how it’s been that long. But in some ways, it’s been a very long year. So much has happened and so many things have changed. And a lot of that has been good. In the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking a great deal about where I am and where I think I’m heading. While I’m still unsure about exactly where I WANT to be, I am confident that where I’m at is a good place, regardless of the uncertain days. I have a life that is full of people and activities and things that are familiar and comforting to me. And right now, I’m hesitant to venture too far out of it. I don’t think my hesitancy is out of fear as much as out of my current need for stability. I still need this life of succor I’ve created for myself in the past year. I can’t bring myself to make changes that don’t feel 100% right, even if it means I may be passing up on something potentially great. This was actually a surprising realization for me. This longing for the familiar. Maybe it’s simply my reminder to slow myself down and settle in to my life as it is. After all, there aren’t too many missing pieces. And eventually, even those will find their way here. I’m thankful today for what I have. Today it’s enough.
You may recognize the first lines of “The Way of the World” by poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox: Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone. It’s true that it’s easy to have friends around you when things are going well; most people can handle the good days.
I’ve been blessed with a large, close family. Regardless of the moments we’ve gotten angry or frustrated with each other, when it comes right down to it, we are there for each other. And we’ve had times over the years when that’s been proven. Times when one or another of us has dropped everything and gone to be with the other. Not every family is that way. I’m lucky mine is.
But I’m also lucky to have friends I feel the same way about, especially since my family is so scattered. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had numerous people extend their condolences over the loss of my father. I’ve gotten cards from unexpected people. Hugs from colleagues. A plant delivered to my house. But what’s touched me most is that I’ve also had several close friends who checked in with me daily, sometimes several times a day. Grief manifests itself in strange ways. I’m not usually an outwardly emotional person. I don’t like to cry in public. I don’t like to draw attention to myself. I’m much more comfortable being the one other people can lean on. But I’ve found myself close to tears periodically with random triggers. A song, a card, a memory. While I feel like I’m doing ok, I know that the grieving process isn’t over. Death has a way of making you reflect not just on the life of the person lost, but on your own life. For me, it’s reminded me of the brevity of our days and reinforced my desire to live a meaningful life. I’m sure this reflection is part of the process, but it also adds another emotional layer to an already stressful event. And I know that for other people, it’s not always easy to know what to say or do for someone during this time. Therefore, I’m so grateful to have people in my life who look beyond my I’m ok and check on me anyway. It means more to me than they probably realized.