It's been almost 6 years since my brother passed away and every year I wait for his birthday to get get easier. People who didn't know any better used to tell me that with time, my pain wouldn't hurt as much. Which makes sense right? Supposedly time heals all wounds. But that has proven to not be true for me. I've found that loss never actually gets easier, your grief just changes. I don't completely fall apart in public as often as I used to and I know how to manage grief in active ways instead of crawling into bed and sleeping until I can tolerate the emptiness and pain I feel when I think about my life without him. There really isn't a right or wrong way to grieve, there's just patience.
Every year the same question plays on repeat as I sink into the rabbit hole of grief, "How could this happen to us?" I wish I had the answer but I don't. This is my favorite question, "Are you ok?" No? Yes? Define "OK." I suppose the answer is no, I'm not ok. When you lose someone you don't really get a choice to be "OK' or "not OK." Unfortunately the world doesn't pause for me today so I can take the time to grieve. Today is just another day for everyone else in the world.
Something I try really very hard to do whenever I slip into the rabbit hole is throw myself into celebration and gratitude. I seek out every ounce of joy possible because the last thing I want to do is feel shitty. My brother had the most infectious smile I've ever seen because he was always scheming. He was my partner in crime. So I try to be happy for him. I try to celebrate him and live my life as fearlessly as possible for him. That's why I'm so open with both my joy and my pain.
Unfortunately the day is going to come when you will get a phone call telling you that your mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, partner, family member, or one of your people has passed away. That day is going to come and it doesn't matter if they lived a full beautiful life or were taken to soon, that day is going to shatter you. You only have one thing in life and that's today. You only have today to live. So what I need you to do is take a minute and ask yourself if you are owning your life. Are you doing everything you want to do with your life?
Today I treated myself to a spinning class at one of my favorite places in the whole wide world FlyWheel and "I Live" by One Repeublic came on and I lost it.
There I was balling my eyes out, IN THE FRONT ROW, because it reminded me of Scott. (That's another beautiful thing grief teaches you, to cry unapologetically. You learn not to feel ridiculous because it's something you can't control.) But this song pretty much sums up everything I am trying to say. It reminds you to step into the driver's seat and live. Cheesy, yes, but I don't care. You have to love, yourself and your people, fiercely and openly. You only get today to try to make yourself the best you possible. It doesn't matter how you do that but it's never too late.
Go do something special for someone today. Smile at a stranger, join a gym, sign up for a half marathon, join a charity team, dance naked, tell someone you love them, book that trip you're hesitating to pull the trigger on, spend an hour alone with your kids, call that family member or friend you've been avoiding. Own every single second. Open your heart today and go laugh until you pee your pants.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.