Like my sweet sister says, January seems to be a shit month.
Not only is the party over (Christmas, I mean) but January is cold, bleak and dark.
It means there are three plus long cold months left until the spring comes. And once the decorations come down, and the tree is put away, and everyone goes home, January is also the month my dad died. (18th)
So yeah, there’s that.
And then last year in January, my brother in law died suddenly. (14th)
And my father in law passed just ten days ago. (19th)
And our dear friends lost their two and a half year old grandson on the 24th.
And there were other lives to be celebrated – and mourned this year – a 19 year old boy, and a 41 year old mother.
(Throw in the flu for good measure and this January has been a real fucking Mardi Gras.)
*note the miserable attempt at sarcasm.
The month feels particularly heavy this year.
Death is always inconvenient.
There will never be a good time for death to come.
There is never a moment one is ready for it to come and steal away someone we love.
It comes in spite of our fear. It comes even though we don’t want it to. It comes in sneaky surprise attacks and long drawn out painful processes. It can feel like a thief and it can feel like a forgiving friend. It can be traumatic and brutal and it can be deeply forgiving, peaceful and comforting. It shows up in all forms. It doesn’t discriminate. We will all die.
I try to tell myself a different story about death.
I try not to be frightened by stories of loved ones being instantly ripped from loving arms on the earth plane, but it is my human experience that prevents me from finding a quiet heart; the human experience of not knowing. The human experience of trying to trust what I cannot see.
“No man knows,” my Grandfather whispered in my ear and hushed my tears.
“We weren’t supposed to know. It’s a mystery.”
It is the human experience of truly realizing (yet, again) that I control nothing outside my own thoughts, words and actions. That all I have is the choice of how I live today. That all I have is each other to treasure, savour and take care of. That all I have is this moment. We are never guaranteed the next.
Motherf*cker. Who thought that up?
It’s the kind of thing that hurts my brain when I think about it too much. There is no way to figure out the timing. It is beyond my understanding and I am jealous of those who never think of it; of those who are blissfully unaware that death lurks unseen at any turn.
And then there are the bulk of the rest who avoid the topic and seek concoctions and cures that will guarantee us safe passage from birth to a death of our choosing, on our timeline. We want permanence and reassurance, perfect health and ripe old age. And shittyshitsuckers, it doesn’t work that way. I don’t get to choose. And neither do you.
Every once in a while, and not very often, someone comes along that blows my everlovin’ mind with their faith, trust, presence, love and gratitude, like the family of Baby Lukas whose short life will be celebrated tomorrow. This mother knew his time with her was short and treasured each day with love and appreciation and a grateful heart. And when he passed she didn’t curl into a ball and want to die, too, she said thank you to him and to God for the time and the gift that was his love. No questions. Complete trust and acceptance. Absolutely mindbogglingly inspirational.
I guess that’s it. That’s all that’s left to do.
Have gratitude for each deliciously sweet and dreadfully boring everyday moment.
And understand that there are no guarantees, just lives on loan under the condition that we do everything in our power to love.
There is nothing like death to make life seem sweet.
There is nothing like illness to make us appreciate health.
Love is the only thing that matters. We all just want to love and be loved.
Today I’m particularly grateful for: my one true love, my sweet soul sisters (hand picked and God-given) a walk in the snow with River, a soft place for a sick child to lie, Advil, good coffee and Amigo pizza with blue cheese dressing. #itsthelittlethings