Until three years ago, I couldn’t understand why people hated the holidays. I got it in theory. No family, bad memories, loss, loss, loss. Of course it sucked for those people, but I still had my family and life was lovely.
Now I get it.
But can I tell you how tired I am of the sting of loss during what should be happy times? It doesn’t matter how much I compartmentalize, how many of the grief steps I’ve cycled through, or that I’ve decided to move on and accept this new normal, it HURTS. There won’t ever be a time when I don’t notice the loss on important days, that I don’t miss my people, that their space—reserved only for them—is vacant. After three years of holidays and birthdays and graduations and performances and everyday life without them, it still feels devastating.
Everyone that has experienced loss come on in for a group hug.
But . . .
There comes a time, I think, when we have to choose. When we look around and the family we have, the friends we have, the community we have built, and the people we have become out weigh the loss.
My therapist calls this the 80/20 of life. When 80% (or more) of our life is fantastic, but we choose to live out of the 20% (or less) that is hard, we miss all that wonderfulness. We get depressed, sad, stressed, anxious, reclusive. Our bodies get sick.
The only method I know to combat living in the 20% is thankfulness. Look up, see the 80% and allow it in, choose to believe the bottom won’t fall out, accept this new, amazing life that has bloomed out of the pain, and embrace the people in front of you, in front of me, now. Be thankful. Allow love in.
I don’t think this will get rid of that sting, but I think it helps with living in the present and not missing it because the pain has us skewered again.
It’s just a theory, but I’m going to try it.
My family started Easter celebrations Saturday night, decorating eggs with close friends and their four amazing spawn. Then off to another friends’ house today to eat and celebrate and enjoy. Sure, my new normal isn’t the same as it always was, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less precious and full of love. I’m looking forward to it.
Happy Easter! However you’re celebrating, whatever your beliefs, I hope it’s full of love.