For the past 365 days my mantra has been, “It will eventually be okay.” I have no idea when it will all come together. I have no clue when the unexpected pain will find its way into a closet.
Loss is a scary uncertainty. There are so many unprecedented lessons that we learn when loss presents itself. As human beings we associate our self-worth and overall identity with possessiveness. We subconsciously manifest priority lists. In many ways our innate sense of productivity and success is associated with what’s next – with what is big.
So, when we lose something we feel empty and our sense of self is put into jeopardy. Then sometimes the pain is too much and we begin to dissect our world. Lust and jealousy become unavoidable feelings, and in many cases we search for the next thing to rescue us from the sadness and discontent.
365 days ago I went to the doctor. I walked in with the expectation of hearing my baby’s heart beat and finding out whether or not we would have a boy or girl. Instead I was handed a huge blow and served with news that our baby died – only a day or two prior. I was angry and would be lying if I said I have completely ditched all of my frustration.
A year later and the loss is still teaching me so much. The biggest lesson has been understanding that things do not always need to be big. Contentment is never on anyone’s list of goals, but there is so much it can teach you.
Memories – When you retire, when you take your last breath, or when you are left with an empty nest you will not remember that lavish Disneyland trip. You will not remember the matching outfits. You will not recall the souvenirs. You will remember your every day, the people that showed up, and the times when you simply lived a normal life.
Unneeded Stress – There will always be times when celebrations and events overwhelm your schedule. But it’s okay to say no and to not feel guilty. Some stress can be avoided if you speak up and show up for yourself. Your to-do list should not dictate your worth.
Show Up – I will always remember the people that showed up for me. Showing up is not measured by the size of a gift. Instead showing up is picking up the invisible pieces, remembering someone’s feelings, and asking how an individual is doing. When you show up, you’re not showing up with something shiny, instead you are reminding someone why every day life is still worth living.
Upgrades Aren’t Important – I have a reliable car that is not even close to being new. I have a phone that keeps me connected, but does not take the best pictures. I have a house that is much smaller than the last. I have the essentials and I’ve learned they do not have to be flashy. I’ve accepted contentment because this brings me less debt, less stress, and more time to make memories with the people I love. The material things are not important and do not provide genuine substance.
Be You – I’ve learned that grieving is ugly. There are an endless amount of unforeseen bumps along the road. People are going to ask you how you are doing and it’s okay to say you’re hanging in there. Be honest with others and yourself. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be in the middle. The answer is not always going to be the next big thing. Sometimes the answer is living through the pain and walking slow, so you don’t miss the life lessons your grief is trying to teach you.
Instead of being overwhelmed with what’s next, try to relish in the ordinary life that contentment brings. Whether you are living through a difficult period or in the midst of your next quest, take time to appreciate the blessings you have, and find solace in the everyday basics.