As I look back on the last five years, I am reminded of how strong a soul can truly be.
Somehow, I got lost somewhere along the way… a realization that made me leave everything I knew and everything that was comfortable, everything I had built my adult life around. I got a divorce. After spending fifteen years with someone, I realized I was not myself any longer. I had to embark on the journey, in search of myself.
During that search, my Mamaw passed away. A woman so amazing who had touched so many lives. She was kind, strong, loving, compassionate, open minded and open hearted. Losing her left its mark on the souls of many, many who would never be the same without her. It happened so sudden, with no time for goodbyes or time to prepare. Complete shock and heartache.
During my journey I reconnected with myself. My compassion, my confidence and my independence. I met a man who accepted me, 100%, no matter what. He liked and appreciated my oddness, my quirks and my differences… and he had some of his own. I fell in love. For the first time in my life, at the age of 32, I fell in love. A year later, we packed up everything we had, left everything we knew and moved halfway across the country to the beach. A move that will prove to be the worst and the best thing we could have ever done… if that makes any sense.
Ups and downs, and then more ups and downs. The biggest roller coaster ride I have ever been on. My life got turned upside down and flipped over itself.
Three years ago, as of yesterday I lost my Tig. Yes he was a cat but he was more than that, he was like a child to me. My companion, my friend. He was with me through so many things.. so many ups and downs… and was always there by my side to show me unconditional love, affection and companionship.
Then my Poppy got sick. I rushed to West Virginia to be by his side. A year ago, to the day I lost my Poppy. After spending days by his side, I had to experience the heartache of saying goodbye to one of the most important people in my life, for the second time. I didn’t leave his side. I was honored with the unforgettable moment when he awoke, and was conscious and alert. He talked to us all. He held my hand and told me he loved me. He thanked me for being here and told me how much it meant to him. We got to share those last moments with our Poppy, sharing love, hugs and smiles. Not many people get that opportunity and I will forever be thankful. The next day my sister, myself and my cousin sat with him while he left us in this world, to continue his journey of the soul. I had to say good bye to my Poppy.
Then in August, just two short months ago, I lost my little brother. A shock that none of us will ever quite get over. Again, our lives are changed forever. He had such an impact on so many lives around him, he probably never even knew. Loved by so many, leaving such an emptiness in our hearts and our lives. I wish i had been a better sister toward him, i wish i had made more of an effort to tell him and to show him how much i love him and how much he meant to me.
I wish, i should have, i could have… things that can’t be changed now. But what can be changed is the now. All of this heartache, all of this sorrow and all of this loss has taught me that you have to appreciate the people important to you. Love them and appreciate them each and every day. Don’t wait for tomorrow to say how you feel…. because the reality is that tomorrow is fleeting…. none of us know if we will be blessed with a tomorrow, or if our loved ones will. Losing my little brother hit me with the realization that i had also taken my sister for granted. I had assumed they would both always be there. I neglected my family and let the business of everyday hectic life get in the way. I was mistakenly content with connecting with them on holidays or birthdays, or when i came into town… rather than taking advantage of the opportunity and telling them each and every day how much i love them. That is a lesson i learned and now i make it a point to not take my family for granted. To stay connected with them and to appreciate our bond even that much more… because all of this loss and heartache did bring us all together and created a family bond even stronger than ever before.
These last five years…. a lot of loss, a lot of change and a lot of transitioning. A lot of heartache and a lot of sorrow. Yet also a lot of growing and strengthening. A lot of lessons learned and a lot of bonds cemented. I continue to grow and to change. My experiences make me who I am, good and bad. Always see every experience as a lesson learned, as an opportunity to grow and strengthen yourself. Maybe when you work hard to find the positive in each situation, the negative doesn’t hurt as much? There is always a light.. .don’t get lost in the dark.