Acknowledging the Pain

“Life is short.”

This is something we’ve all heard a thousand times. We hear it, we say it, we know it. But oftentimes it becomes easy to just lump it in with every other trite phrase that we sort of toss around whenever the moment seems appropriate.

I’m very grateful to have had company in town when I learned of my brother’s passing. One of my oldest friends, Callie, happened to be visiting me this week and she provided the support and distraction I so desperately needed.

But, she flew back this morning and now I’m back home with Shawn and Nora and the Cat and am looking forward to hopefully some semblance of normalcy as this week comes to an end.

I’ve done a lot of quiet, tearful, introspective thinking this week. I still have so much to sort through, and I grieve in a very specific way. I prefer to draw back, become still in my soul. I prefer to cry privately and deal with all of the Feelings on my own.

I don’t like to share my grief; it overwhelms me. I don’t like to dwell on the pain, sometimes to a fault because it never gets acknowledged. So, I guess that’s what I’m doing now. Acknowledging my pain.

People have continued to ask how I’m feeling.

Mostly, I feel very tired. Losing a dearly loved soul is like getting punched in the gut; you get the wind knocked out of you. It’s hard to really breathe for a while.

I feel sad, too. All of this is a little familiar because we went through it when we lost my mom. At the same time, it’s very different losing a parent and losing a sibling. I don’t necessarily feel as though my life might not go on (which is how I felt a lot after my mom passed), but like I told my sister this morning, “one of us” is gone now. (Us being the sibs.)

Truthfully, my brother and I didn’t have much of a relationship toward the end. We hadn’t spoken in a few months, not because of any bad blood, we just lost touch. Because of this, I don’t feel an immediate sense of loss, which feels strange. I almost feel guilty for it.

My brother carried a lot on his back for many, many years. He dealt with a lot of rejection, heartache and loneliness throughout his young life. He somehow always managed to keep on going. I will forever be inspired by his determination, by his love for his daughter and by his passionate spirit.

I loved my brother with my whole heart and I am extremely grieved at his passing. I had so desperately hoped that he would find a way out of the brokenness he was tangled in and be able to live. Really live.

“Life is short.”

As I’ve begun to sort through my thoughts and feelings that have swarmed my heart and piled up in my mind over the course of this week, I feel a sense of desperation. I am desperate to fill my days with my husband and daughter; with love and warmth and smiles and laughter. I am desperate to be nearer to the Heart of God. I am desperate to soak up every minute; to make memories; to bake cookies; to teach Nora how to love the world; to practice the yoga that I love so much; to never take my husband’s love for granted.

But I don’t feel these things because I now feel like “life is short”. I feel these things because I am so very tired and I have been given an opportunity to rest. To rest in Grace, to rest in Family, to rest in Friendships, to rest in Love, to rest in Him. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow closer to my other two siblings, Lizzy and Casey, and to my dad as well. I am grateful for the opportunity to heal. I am grateful for the opportunity to write. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to live.

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