Normally when I sit down and write a blog post I type in the title and then start hammering out the text. I have no clue what I'm going to type so at this time, there is no title.
Several things have entered my mind...
...the hardest thing ever...
...happy with life...
I guess I'm gonna go with the first one, because in all honesty, that has been on my mind a lot lately, and saying it out loud recently (totally by mistake) has made me think about the hardest thing ever a LOT.
So....the hardest thing ever....
I was VERY close to my Mom. We talked on the phone so much (and usually about so little!) that Jeff and my Dad just finally both stopped asking what we talked about. They knew the answer was gonna be "not much". Both men were confused how these two women would talk for literally hours about "not much".
Close...we were really close. So close, in fact, that many times I would wonder how the hell I would survive losing my Mom when that time came. I really expected to fall completely apart and maybe even end up in the hospital...that loss would be so incredibly great...the hardest thing ever, in fact...that it might just drive me over the edge.
Losing Schuyler was really hard. I know he was in Afghanistan, and I know at least some part of you has to worry about it...but I honestly did NOT expect it. Things like that don't happen to my family. Plus, he went once, came home fine, so this tour would be no exception.
...wow...that loss was HARD. Really hard. He was the first person that I was really close to to die...the first person whose loss profoundly affected every single person in my family, from my parents, to my siblings, to my own husband and children. Every single one of us was affected and felt the loss in a big way. All of us were changed after that loss...nothing will ever be the same.
Then my Mom suddenly died, and I'm pretty sure one of the first thing my husband worried about was me...he probably expected me to lose my mind, and honestly, the thought crossed my mind more than once. I wanted to lose myself in that grief, and I wanted to curl up in a ball and seep down under the darkness. But, there were things to take care of, and details to be seen to. Plans had to be made, and life, ultimately, had to go on.
And you know what? It did. Life did go on. And there were hard days. There were good days, and there were insanely bad days. But, life went on...not life as we formerly knew it, but a different life. A life in which her things had to be gone through, divided up, and then given away...a life in which Dad needed a bit of help...a life which had to go on.
So the hardest thing ever happened...and I made it through. I didn't make it through the same, but I made it through. I did not come through that journey of 2009 the same person who started it, but I came through. I came through a different person, one with the taste of grief still bitter in my mouth, but also with a taste of the sweetness that life can bring.
And then, somewhere in the midst of the grief, the sadness, the missing of them, came a new goal...a new goal to get myself healthier and better physically. And in that process, I think I came through that tunnel of grief even more, and I kept getting better. Now, this leads me back to the comment I referenced in the beginning...I recently said this and had one of those "ah-ha" moments. I said to someone that I thought losing my Mom would be the hardest thing ever, and once I made it through that, I kinda wondered if I could possibly do anything. Weight loss and getting healthier was pretty high up there on the "hardest thing ever" list, so maybe...just maybe that wasn't impossible either.
It's hard to believe that facing sadness and struggle would actually make me up for more challenge, but I really thing that it did. I made it through the hardest thing ever, so there's really nothing that I shouldn't be able to do. I hope that wherever Schuyler and my Mom are now that they can see us at times...I hope they see that we're getting better...that we miss them fiercely, but that we're living. I really feel a presence when I run, and I can't help but think that's Schuyler in some form. He joked with me about getting fit a lot, and often said we'd run together when he was home for leave...sounds great, I'd say, but I don't run. He'd just laugh and make some smart comment. I think he runs with me sometimes. I hope my Mom can see me and that she's proud of us for living...and proud of me for getting healthier so that I can be around for my kids for a long time. I want to be a grandma someday so that I can spoil my grand kids and squeeze out as much joy as I can from them, like she did with hers!
We'll all face our own "hardest thing ever" and really it's all about choices...are you going to choose to face it, work through it, and live beyond it, or will it be the thing that defines you're decline? Life's too precious to not enjoy, so face the tough stuff and know that it's within each of us to rise above and persevere.