We placed that stone almost a year later, and I’ve hated it ever since. The coldness, harshness and permanence it brings every time just reiterates and reminds me of what we already hate to have to face. Another birthday is here, which means another year without a missing link sitting around the table to blow out 28 birthday candles. Another day spent with an especially heavy feeling in my heart while running through my mind all of the ‘who would you be today’ questions. From her occupation, to relationship status, her hair cut and color, to her current address or possible little ones running around – it’s impossible not to play out the endless possibilities of scenarios. As I sat staring at that stone last night, I noticed the perfect reflection of the sun set staring back at me. I thought of what the reflection of what her last sunset meant and what it has brought in the 8 years since.
This week has been a heavy one for many reasons beyond this – but the primary reoccurring theme has been the reminder that death surrounds us. Doing these tributes and reading the heartbreaking stories of others’ lives that were shattered on account of ugly diseases, forces me to ask myself the question “what do I want my last sunset to look like?” I keep reminding myself that all the things that I’m unsatisfied with in my life right now – aren’t anywhere near what I want that sunset to look like as I take my last breath on this earth. So as I run through these countless thoughts of what she’d be doing if we were all sitting around that table together, I look in that reflection on that stone and also see myself. And I think to myself – “self” 😉 you are still sitting here celebrating more birthdays, so – who and what are you doing that feeds and fills your soul? While there are some things – such as being a mom – that I am proud of – there are other things that consume large amounts of my time, that aren’t in alignment with what I actually love or am passionate about. While I’ve spent the past couple years trying to bridge these ideas and things together, unable to make a complete connection as to how or where I want to go next – I’m forced to be reminded that maybe in the end, none of the minor details matter. It’s just another push towards something more, something bigger, something outside the mundane. It’s as if we’re almost sitting and waiting for death to come knocking just so we can attempt to make it all right when that reality has become ours. Only then do we either live engulfed in regret and guilt, or try and make it all right when we know the end is near. Why do we do that? Why do we wait? Why do we work our entire lives just to hit a certain age to retire and actually ‘enjoy’ life and be stress free? Why do we wait until our kids are older or we have grandchildren to change the way we think about and interact with our kids? Why do we work our entire lives to pay off things we think we need, only to be surrounded by those things in the end to realize how completely unnecessary they are?
Although this day is a reminder of many things that will never come into fruition for Josie on another birthday that she isn’t able to celebrate – it’s also a reminder to ask ourselves what we want left – either etched permanently on that stone or painted on that final sunset of our lives. I want that sunset to be bright and beautiful, full of many vibrant colors that others remember for decades to come. I want it to consist of change, hope and healing from the inside out. And this is a reminder that we are still here, and we still have the opportunity to make it what we want, while we can.
I wanted to share this, as I thought it summed so many things up perfectly 🙂 This is part of an entry made by Chandra Nicole (her writing is amazing by the way, highly recommend following on FB, or reading the full entry on Elephant Journal at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/05/a-lesson-about-true-love-where-to-find-it/ )
“But I think the lesson that’s most pressing here is the understanding that impending ‘death’ allows us to be present, which is where true love resides.
It allows us to live fully and to see what’s truly important… and also what’s total bullshit. When ‘the end’ is near, moments become intrinsically precious.
Parting ways with this man, has shown me that more clearly than anything before.
I wonder how differently we might live our lives if we were to really understand that everything dies at some point; that the only constant in this universe is change, and that within each change there is a mini-death.
In what ways are we resisting life by resisting death?
If we were to interact with everything, everyone, every relationship — with full awareness of the fact that it may soon die, how might we choose differently?
What might we say differently?
How would we show up differently?
What would matter?
And what wouldn’t?
What might LOVE actually look like in the space of total surrender and complete presence?”
Happy birthday Miss Josie – although we’d prefer you were here to cheers that drink with – thank you for all that you’ve taught and continue to teach us as we walk blindly through this thing called life.