Life, Loss & Love

A year of loss and new beginnings too, a whirlwind of emotion moving from heartbreaking life changing sadness to overwhelming joy and love and in the middle of all that was me navigating the forces of it all. My head and heart spinning searching and hoping to find a way to go through life without her and do it in a way that would only make her proud.  My mom, the one who showed me true strength and mind over matter type of living your best life while loving your family hard every single moment, passed away with her family by her bedside in June.  I found some of her strength this year scattered amongst the very long walk down the winding hallway of the hospital, and left behind my panic and weak legs in step behind my dad and the pastor that met us at the door, and knowing in that moment life would never be the same but the journey had to continue and my dad would need me to find more strength.  Her strength had always inspired me in ways I wish I could tell her but know that I now have to show her that I learned by watching.  The one loss would have been enough but our family suffered even more loss in having to say goodbye to poppy and a favorite uncle too.  Beautiful and loving people that loved their family and life really well, steadfast in their ways to make anything and everything better, more rich with laughter from quick wit a bit on the dry side, Poppy dances and a deep love of their family that was so strong it will be carried on in who they leave behind.  I sat with dear friends in loss this year too with a friend that is family that had a sudden loss of their mom too as well as another grieving of someone way to young.  At a time in life when we need more of the people that create connection and openhearted giving kind of love we have to find a way to be our best self without them and go out there and show the world who we are.  Be a light. 

Where there were endings there were new beginnings too with new homes being purchased, one at the beginning of the year and one at the end, a graduating RN, a lot of love and family gathering with a most beautiful Colorado wedding and somewhere in the middle of all of that was the most challenging year of work I have ever faced. This journey through the past twelve months was by the far one of the hardest I have ever walked through but it was also filled with the most beautiful moments and family and friends. Moments that I will forever be grateful for, they helped me find my way through the darkness being blessed with so much light along the way.  I could go on and on with so many moments this year that will remain a piece of my heart, some of the spotlights of brightness were the flood of memories and gratitude from having all three of these incredible examples of the best kind of loving humans in my life and in my children’s life.  The realization that my husband could hold me up without even being in the same room, his love, support and presence so present in my heart when I needed it.  Seeing my children be who they are and the love that they have of their family and share with others.  They brought joy through the middle of what was true heartbreak and allowed my heart to instead overflow with love and pride.  Turning and seeing a group of women that share their heart and their life with me and knowing that I have found beautiful friendships that are family and understanding above all else we show up for friendships in the hard stuff even when you don’t know what that means.  We just go, and maybe we even take a cooler of beer or a coffee or a hot chocolate and a hug and nothing matters except you show up for the messy and shine that light into the dark.  The joy and happiness of a new adventure with the love that was shared at the most beautiful Colorado wedding and being a part of togetherness and three events filled with family and love.  My first Kiki babysitting adventure that…..well……had heart melting moments of little boy fun and connection that I will never ever forget and will always be grateful for including our first yay day adventure.  Gratitude for family moments that will be forever memories because my children treasure family time too and stop in the middle of their year for togetherness and memory making and the smiles that “aaallll the gooaaats” created and buttermilk biscuits and getting splashed with whitewater on the Arkansas River.  I had days of lazy hiking with the one I love and finding our very own waterfall in the mountains of North Carolina with moments of connection that felt like they were out of a movie at times.  In the middle of all of this year was the brightest little light that I like to call Smiley that brought me joy in so many ways that I couldn’t help but feel the reality of the circle of life in the best way possible full of gratitude for all of it. A lot of time in nature this year and if there is any way to enjoy this life it is in nature with those you love by your side. 

There were paddleboarding adventures galore and many that were filled with dolphin encounters that felt like magic, gym togetherness and healthy connection, brewery visits with meaning of life conversation and a cheers atmosphere with fun bartenders that catch you doing your own pour, fire pit porch time with my husband and our cat Romee that can’t get enough of being loved and petted, beads galore with friends and acceptance that my mom had the patience of a saint with her love of beads but I do not, putting together a financial puzzle with what felt like blindfolds on but realizing the time and connection with dad couldn’t be more precious and at times created confusion that I know for sure I am only finding my way through because of the people that are open to sharing love and connection. 

I learned some hard lessons too and the biggest one was the hardest in realizing grief isn’t at all what I thought it would be like and life suddenly seems more fragile without your mom’s presence and uplifting voice, and oh another biggie for me, I don’t have to be hurt when others are hurtful to me and just because I can do whatever I make up my mind to, I don’t always have to either.  I have choices and creating my life to be the best version of myself means sometimes I have to make the hard choice.  Sometimes I have to let go.  Words from my uncle that will remain something I refer to a lot and that is “love is time and choice and you show love by choosing to spend time with someone.”  “You can choose to feel good or bad”, I choose the path that others will see love.  I choose to give all the love I can and be with those that choose to receive it.  I learned this year that my fear of being to much or being to annoying in my making of plans can’t be a fear anymore and it is who I am and accept it and love will flow through that connection and time with others.   I want to live so authentic that the vulnerability is actually ok and even welcomed that I can let go of any expectation too.  But mostly I learned that I was shown the way of sunshine and rainbows living and that doesn’t mean I can’t be sad or overwhelmed but it does mean I was given the ability to always find the light and to do that through open hearted living.  I have fears now that I didn’t have before but I have the strength to face them because I can feel the guidance of the most loving angels. 

This most challenging year has brought me to where I am today and I try sometimes to say it was an awful year because oh wow my heart hurt this year but I don’t think I will ever look at this year as being an awful year because oh wow my heart overflowed this year too and if there was ever a year I felt life the most beautiful circle of it all, it was this one. I am ending this beautiful and hard journey of 2021 with my son and his family as they take the next steps on their journey to a new home and I am ready for 2022 and all of its life it will bring me, the beautiful, joyous, messy, challenging and hope filled days ahead.

Leaning into 2022 on the lookout for joy every single day, finding it and sharing it and knowing every single moment matters. Mom, thank you for showing me love and the sunshine and rainbows in life I sure hope I make you proud with every single step I take.

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