“So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom, and resilience? What if it’s pain? What if it’s the struggle?”
― Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior
For the past several months after the death of my husband I have been faced with some extremely tough questions, mostly questions that I ask myself to reconcile a life that I thought I had and a future that I had planned for; with the life that I currently have and a future for the girls and I that is a little uncertain.
Knowing how short life is I have questioned whether this is it? Is this the beginning of the end or is this end in fact a beginning?
I have been tasked to face my thoughts and fears surrounding humility, loss and desire.
Do I focus on what I lost when my husband left the physical world, or do I focus on what I gained while he was here?
Will I leave my children a legacy of brokeness or an endowment of great strength and fearlessness?
Do I dare desire to move forward in my life and imagine a bright future?
Will this loss break me or teach me?
Knowing that I am a mirror for our children I have been working hard to find my footing on this new path, my vulnerability and tenderness allows me to feel all the emotions as they wash over me, yet it is my bravery and tenacious spirit, traits we do not always associate with being feminine, that allow me the audacity to dream of a big future.
Somedays I feel as soft and fragile as mountain of cotton balls but more and more often, as I drift from heartache to daydreams I find myself moving with a sureness through this great big world, rising as resolute as an old oak tree, with roots planted so securely into the earth that I know that there isn’t a storm so fierce that it can knock me down.
“My courage will come from knowing I can handle whatever I encounter there — because I was designed by my creator to not only survive pain and love but also to become whole inside it. I was born to do this. I am a Warrior.”
It is really scary, yet equally motivating to slowly discover the place that you want to occupy in this world and work diligently to fabricate a brilliant and shiny future built from ruins.
I love Kirk as much in death as I did in life, my love for him has not changed, only my attachment to him physically.
I believe the human experience is such a very small part of our existence and the spirit world is more expansive than we can ever truly imagine. In life I wanted Kirk to have freedom from the demons that tortured him, and he wanted me to fully embrace my affable spirit and shine as brightly as I possibly could. None of that has changed, for either of us. I can remember vividly a conversation Kirk and I had at Easter in Vancouver about unconditional love. We talk a lot about unconditional love, while putting conditions on our love. When behaviors change or certain conditions are not met in our relationships, they suffer, some irreparably so. When our conditions are not met the love inevitably fades away. This had been an ongoing conversation for days, whether that type of love was possible in a romantic relationship. We both waivered and changed our minds countless times, settling on yes it was possible but could prove extremely difficult. Now more than ever I realize the value and the depth of unconditional love. The promises and commitments we made can no longer be honored, yet, the love remains and always will; unconditionally.
Daily we face the unimaginable pain and trauma of our tragic loss, but our story continues. When we sift through the ragged debris of a life that once was I am finding that some important things remain, in fact all the things I need to plant the seeds of a new life. Hope, faith and love.
I know for certain that I do not want to be just lovely, I want to be love. I know that every bit of the love I gave to Kirk he will give back to me now so that I will contine to have the capability to face all of my fears and embrace optimism and put that love back into the world so that I attract the right people and experiences to design a future of gratitude and abundance for me and my family.
I have a deep understanding of my worthiness and I know I am deserving of good things. The choices I make and the intentions I set will determine the foundation that I build a future on. I am forever changed but I will continue to live from an untamed heart, not a disenchanted one.
A family member asked me yesterday if I was angry and how did I manage to keep myself going?
The truth is pain is merciless; fighting it will neither solve nor diminish it. We need to heal our pain because if we continue to dwell in the hurt, hurt is what we will continue to bring into the world.
Yes, some days I am angry and sometimes I cry out of nowhere but that is not the entire story. Pain cripples our capacity for love and joy. Pain is a place to visit, not a place to live. I choose mercy over misery. That is the best way I know to honor him.
I want to bring love into the world and that starts with unabashedly loving myself and deeming myself worthy of all of the things I desire in life. There was a time that I believed that it was my job to hold everyones pain, that it was OK if I came last. I know longer believe those things.
Throughout this challenging grief journey there are days I will not always feel brave, on those days when I am soft and giving and loving; other true essences of myself; I will work harder to beat down the walls of fear, as I cannot shine my bright light into the world if I constantly build protective walls around me and my heart to keep the light out.
I am courageous, yet vulnerable, I am uncomfortable yet authentic and I am showing up every day, even the days when it hurts the most, without sacrificing any of the things that make me….me.
I’m still standing.
“First the pain, then the rising.
So when you ask how I am and I say I am ok, I am. I am not ok because I am over Kirk or I no longer feel his loss, I am ok because I know more than ever that the love we shared is still and will always be very real. It is in the eyes of our children, every song we danced too, every movie we curled up and watched and every single memory that brings me a smile. If I tore apart every piece of myself there would be evidence of him in every cell, he will never truly be gone.
In life Kirk was my biggest cheerleader and now, in a world that likes to scrutinize and cast harsh judgement it feels really good to know that I have the best cheerleader in the universe looking out for me, someone who genuinely wants the very best for me in every situation.
I ran into a new friend the other day that I have not seen since August, she asked how I was and her eyes immediately filled with tears and automatically registered sadness. People so often feel that it is their duty to take on the pain of others. I have definitely carried the weight of other people’s pain and it gets extremely heavy. I assured her that I was ok and I was doing well and healing. I later met a friend who told me that my good energy was infectious. If I can pass along anything to you, I would not choose my pain, or my suffering, I would choose my energy and my love.
I’m still standing and so are you. Now it is our time to rise.
Adversity can not rob of of the opportunity to have a great life. Pain is in fact a great teacher. Many people who have faced unimaginable struggle have gone on to lead inspiring and impactful lives.
Just as Kirk will always be more than the illness that stole his life away, we will be more than the tragedy that robbed us of him.
Holding unto pain is like drinking poison in your coffee everyday. We will continue to suffer with no end in sight. Sadness and suffering are not the same.
Today, whatever you are holding unto that is causing you pain and shutting peace out of your heart, ask yourself…
1. Will holding unto this pain change the situation for the better? Should I hold the pain or heal it?
2. Will letting go of and moving through the pain be of benefit to me?
3. Will I choose misery or will I choose mercy? Why?
“What if pain – like love – is just a place brave people visit?” ― Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior