It has been quite some time since I’ve posted, but I’ve been hard at work. Research and writing continues, and life’s experiences continue to inspire the details and depths of my characters and story (dear life, please let me up for air).
This year has been a challenging one, and despite a profound sense of loss (or maybe because of it), I feel more deeply thankful for all that I have – a family that I love and can’t live without, friends that make me laugh, good health, a roof over my head, a job that pays the bills, and the freedom to be myself and choose the life I want (a huge thank you to all responsible parties).
In six years, I’ve lost my dad, my brother, and most recently my mother. Losing such major keystones has shaken my foundation beyond what I am able to express (still working through it all with the pros), and has given birth to a very real fear of future loss. Nothing is certain in this life except for death, and that is a truth that most of us (myself definitely included) work to avoid facing on a daily, regular basis. On the whole, that is a good thing – it is unhealthy to dwell on such morbid realities, and doing so would prevent us from living our lives and embracing all the amazing things in it. But when death is thrown in your face over and over again, before you can even get on your feet from the last knock-down blow, it becomes really difficult to ignore that death and loss is very real, and it is absolutely terrifying.
Heartbreak tears us apart, but in the process it deepens our understanding of ourselves, it makes us more compassionate and empathetic to others who have or are enduring it, and it forces us to re-prioritize our lives. It shakes us out of complacency, allowing us to see everything with a renewed sense of appreciation. It makes us more thankful than ever for our loved ones, because we know that there is no guarantee that they will be here tomorrow. Though I wish there was another way to cultivate such profound appreciation (and a way to keep my family safe in a bubble), experiencing pain and loss is a rite of passage and this is the only reward. Appreciation, gratitude, thankfulness…these are gifts. Without them, you can have the world and still feel empty and unfulfilled. With them, you have everything you need.
On this Thanksgiving, I wish you and your loved ones all the blessings that life has to offer. Be well, and spread the love.
Photo courtesy of Don Graham/Flickr.