Monday, December 17, 2012

Anniversary and Reflection

One year ago today, my oldest brother passed away.

I started this blog days ago. I have written and deleted several paragraphs, and mentally composed and rejected countless more. Even though they were heartfelt thoughts, they seemed trite--the kinds of things that everyone says at times like these.Not that they aren't good, but I'm sure someone has said it better than I could have.

So rather than writing a put-together article with a common theme and logical flow that nicely ties the end in with the beginning (as I often like to do), I'm just going to share a mish-mash of thoughts.

A year ago I re-learned that I throw myself into activity when I'm upset. Other ladies eat chocolate; I clean. Some people rant; I go for a run. But I found out that grief still manages to sneak around the most manic-activity self-control. I held it together for three weeks, until the slideshow before the funeral started. Then I cried. And we're not talking delicate sniffling. We're talking full-on, give-me-that-whole-box-of-Kleenex, so-much-for-eye-makeup bawling. And it was good for me. Sometimes you just need to commandeer a box of Kleenex and let it out. Sadness is part of the human experience as much as happiness, and if you try to avoid all pain or sorrow, then I don't think you can truly have happiness and joy.

I know people are often plagued with "what ifs" or the "if onlys." It's okay to think about those--in moderation. It's the "if onlys" that help you do better next time, and the "what ifs" can motivate you to go beyond your comfort zone. Where it is not good is when you wallow in it like a pig in the mud.

Show those you love that you care--often. I usually show I care by doing things for people or letting them know that I'm thinking of them rather than saying, "I love you." But not everyone speaks my love language, so I'm trying to expand my affection "vocabulary." If people know that you care, then you will have comfort rather than regret if something does happen. But don't get obsessive about it, either.

Above all, let's be a little more kind to each other. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Let someone go ahead of you in line, or refrain from calling someone an unkind name. Think for a second before you tweet, facebook, or email when you're grumpy. A little more love, charity, and decency will go a long way.

I am thankful for the gift of life that I enjoy, and for a spiritual anchor, which I think the world needs more than ever. I am grateful for the wonderful people in my life, and if I hold open a door or help carry in your groceries or ask about your family or send you an email/message/text, then know that it translates as "I care about you."

And for my brother, Chris (far right), I look forward to seeing you again one day.