April 9, 2015 by wedandwanderlust
There’s a wonderfully unique thing about being human. We can all live very different lives, look differently, and come from varied places, but this crazy adventure of life often brings us together through shared emotions – connections – relate-able experiences.
It’s my belief that through no coincidence, my friend Anne-Marie was placed in my life at a very pivotal time. I don’t think either of us knew then that we would have a connection in such a way. She was our realtor and I had known of her and her daughter’s story through a mutual friend, Nicole. While she did a fantastic job of getting our house sold and I enjoyed her work ethic and personality, I didn’t think a friendship would blossom. I had the opportunity to share and support an auction for her daughter Reagan on a blog that I was contributing to, and again, enjoyed engaging with her whilst putting it together. I thought then, “She’s pretty swell, would be nice to know her more”, but you know…life.
It wasn’t until a few months later at a brunch at our friend Nicole’s house, that we were able to sit down and chat without business, kids, or busy-ness in the way. We had a chance to connect and laugh and drink all the mimosas. (Ok not all, but we had our fair share…Sorry-not-sorry other guests!) We both had had a rough year, I had just completed my last nursing session the night before, and by golly we were destined to enjoy that day and all the carefreeness that came with it!
At a later point we were able to sit down and commiserate…and I do mean co-mmiserate. You see our lives were filled with a lot of yuck last year. (You can read about her story here.) They are totally and completely unlike each other when you look at them side by side. Cake pops and mushrooms. Yes, that different. But we each had a life changing experience that truly touched each intricate cranny of our lives – altered friendships, day-to-day life, perspective, our marriages & family, shattered dreams, new beginnings. I finally felt not so alone, not so weighted. I had found connection with someone who understood grief.
You see, grief is sly. It catches you in the tiny in-between…waiting for the shower water to warm before you jump in…the exhale after a workout…the pause of slumber as you drift awaken in the morning. It snags you and immediately tears springs forth as your heart writhes with pain….pent up emotion, stuffed down in a place where you don’t want to visit. The mundane is the only thing that takes you back. Because in those moments…those were the only ones in which you were allowed to breathe while going through the difficult dark. Those were the only moments when you could turn off your brain and heart and just be….silence and solitude were rare and precious gems. Who wants to corrupt them with junk? No, they had to be treasured because you needed them to survive.
But in the calm, this is where the pain lies. I find myself both longing for and loathing them. Pain, anger, hurt, frustration, sadness, mourning…all happen. One simultaneous emotion.
And yet in the deepest dark, there is always light.
Growth also happens there…growth and recognition of growth, both equally important. The fact that the silver lining is much easier to see. It’s not so far away as your not so far down in the pit. Victory over small battles provide bolsters to stand. They may not be great in size, but they are strong.
Growth allows you to breathe through the grief…to work your way through it’s tricky paths. To know when to come up for air and when to keep working through it. To know when to ask for help and for when silence is the best medicine.
Yes, grief may be sly…
But growth, growth is honest and open…and freeing.
Yesterday, on the anniversary date of her family’s life changing event, it was so good to see my friend be free in her grief and present in her celebration. To understand the emotions leading up the day, the poignant triggers during, and the attacks from the dark that want nothing more than a downward spiral instead of standing in the light…Yes, this is what being vulnerable and real brought us. Grief has brought us connection, and for that I am thankful.
If you’d like to learn more about Reagan’s story and would like to contribute in some way, please visit The Reagan Fund.