Growing Pains

It was only our second day together, Doug, his parents, and me, but it felt like the 100th. I don’t know how it happens, but it seems that almost every time I visit with someone lately, we all end up in tears. In this case, as in many, those tears were tears were of grief for loved ones lost. Do I feel more connected with my boyfriend’s parents now? Absolutely. Do I feel good about bringing them to tears? Not so much. But as Doug pointed out today, we never really move on when someone we love dies. Instead, we go through a process of acceptance. We’re all trying to accept their absence, just muddling along sometimes, and for me – a year later – still wanting to pick up the phone to call my mom just one more time. Especially on today, her birthday.

I feel that she has never fully left me. Sure, we can’t hop in the car and go shopping together. We can’t go and price new customers & discuss our estimates. And yet, I still have those conversations with her in my mind. That’s how I get through, and how I don’t move on, but I have gained acceptance that I will never again see her here on Earth. The clothes she wears now, don’t start out with pricetags, but with ethereal flow, they’re free just like she is now. Free from Cancer. Free from worry. Free from wonder. I feel like she’s become my cheerleader. My life in the last year has seen some drastic changes that began with her passing and has ended with my stepdad in a new relationship, and with me in the very relationship I was always meant to experience.

For me, death is not just sorrowful and feared, but also life-altering for all those left behind, and not always in a bad way. When my father passed just months before my 12th birthday, my mom and I became closer than we had ever been before. We no longer lived in hospitals, and we spent tons of time finally getting to really know each other after years of tending to dad’s needs. With mom’s passing, I’ve learned so far that life is too fleeting for hesitation, that if we feel compelled to do something or be with someone, that’s exactly what we should do, regardless of the doubts and fears involved. My Faith and confidence are at an all time high, as if she’s whispering in my ear, and I’m listening to her now more than when she was living.

The other not-so-bad thing about death is that the very experience of watching someone we love die, is a bonding experience. Death connects us in a way that nothing else will, because we all must experience it, and we’re all profoundly affected. This becomes a spiritual connection, I believe, and that’s why we share tears. When your spirit becomes part of the conversation, something is moved, something changes, and people unite in grief. Look at 9/11 afterall. That’s not to say that death is the ultimate goal, but it is to say that death is inevitable, and making the best of something so tragic is the healthiest and really, most Godly thing, we can do as humans. We should never shy away from conversations that move us spiritually just because they’re a little painful. Afterall, we still have growing pains, even as adults. It’s just that now, are legs aren’t the target of those pains. Instead, it’s our hearts that must grow, and THAT is a beautiful thing.

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