Life is odd in its unfolding, each layer introduces itself to you a section at a time. Sometimes it doesn’t do so fast enough. Sometimes, it’s not what we want to see. When life greets us it doesn’t promise us it will always be kind, but it does promise to teach us along the way. Yet as human beings, we try so desperately to understand life before it has officially introduced itself. We try to control what life has to teach us. The thing is, our stories are still being written, yet we keep trying to steal the pen.
Since Mike’s death, I’ve struggled with how little I actually understand life. I’ve never really given life a chance to properly introduce itself to me. At each and every turn, as life is trying to unfold its sections before me, I turn away. Before Mike was diagnosed with brain cancer, I used to dream of the future–I used to dream of the future I wanted. But even in those moments of control, of trying to see life before it unfolded, I believed in its magic. There was a soulful connection between me and life, between me and the energy of this world, between me and the creative.
Mike only enhanced what was already inside me. He believed in my passion, my skills, my love of things. I felt so connected to nature, trees whispering to me on the winding slope of the wind. My soulful love of dogs and horses. My passion for cooking, writing and photography. My skill to string together a colorful labyrinth of words that transform us to another state of mind. I saw things in this world, understood a chemistry that many can’t see. I saw the irony in “coincidences”, or shall I saw the not so ironic.
In the last five years, I have truly walked through the valley of death. What started with miscarriage after miscarriage and the loss of our adoption, then spiraled into my husband’s death, the death of our beloved chocolate lab that we had from birth, and the death of two dear friends. Now I am faced with two people I love very much battling breast cancer. One a friend, the other–my mother.
Through this, I recognize that I have lost my magic. I have lost a sense of how I always viewed the world. I have lost a bit of that flame, that spark, but the fire has not been extinguished. It’s oxygen is just low.
Since the three year anniversary of Mike’s death a couple weeks ago, life has worked extra hard to introduce itself again. First it was remembering all that Mike and I have poured into our first home together, which I still live in to this day. A door in my memory creaked open, allowing me to remember when we first bought the home; we moved in October 2010, 2.5 years after our marriage and nearly nine years after being together. 10 years to the day, he died in the same month. As this realization hit, so too did all the work we put into the home. All the renovations, all the teamwork, all the love. Life reminded me that none of that gets erased just because the house is fairly empty.
Then I came across Mike’s words. He wrote to me in his journal. A journal he had for many many years. His handwriting, the italic scribble of an engineer that wrote with purpose and delicacy. “Forget the past, I am right here.” Life once again knocking, asking me to remember how I used to see things, how I used to connect.
Then it was the cross that sat in his casket. I put it next to his urn, and alongside a picture of us together with my niece and our dogs’ remains (we had another–phoebe). I was talking to him and the cross tipped over, Jesus’s arms open wide to the picture it fell towards.
Life is working hard these days to remind me there is still magic in this world. There is still so much to hope for and believe in. As I reconnect to my passions, to the flames that build the fire that burns bright, I pour oxygen into one flame in particular–my love for my husband. His love runs deep inside my heart and his love is what stokes all the other flames that will recreate the fire. The step that is the hardest to take–allowing that love to reignite other aspects of the soul and heart. He may not be here now, but his love–the love he had for me will never depart my heart.
When life tries to teach you these moments, allow it to. Don’t hide or run from it. Recognize it.
I will no longer try to steal the pen. I will trust the author, and allow the pen to flow naturally through my fingers. I will let life unfold slowly and trust that pieces of me will come back in time.
I ask you do the same on your journey. Be kind to life, be kind to yourself as you journey through whatever life is bringing to you right now. In time, it will show you something new, something magical, something worth knowing again.
May grace, guidance, and gratitude guide your footsteps in this life.
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