Life in the Midst of Loss
My first blog post for 2022 and on my new website. I’m so excited!
Time has just flown, hasn’t it? And in that six month period since I last wrote, my life has changed in so many ways. In February, I found the courage to walk away from a work environment that just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t looking for anything just yet, and still they found me – one phone call from two amazing human beings and three days later, I was finally at a place I can call my home.
Who would have known that finding a new job in an industry I loved would be the least of my life’s changes? When I lost my father in law in September of 2021, I thought that event would define 2022 for my family.
God had other plans, I suppose.
Loss blasted through our family in full force when in January, 2022, we lost my sister’s husband unexpectedly. And then in March, 2022, I lost my father.
What do you do when all these changes rush in like a tornado, touching down and wreaking havoc with such finality, there isn’t really anything you can do to stop it? Or make up for it. Or do things differently. You’re faced with the pain of losing someone you should have taken the time to visit or call or at least slow life down enough to tell him how much you loved him.
All those chances gone, just like that.
And there I was, one week into my new job – unable, in my mind, to tell anyone at work what had happened. After all, they didn’t know me. It would have been much more different if I was still at the job I had for 18 years. But no, not here. Things like this are best kept close. You don’t want drama in your work life one week after you started. These days, I often wonder – when asked, “where are your parents? Are they in the US as well?” How would I casually say, “Oh, actually, my dad died two weeks ago.”
The ability to compartmentalize – continue on with my new job during the day and organize prayer groups and burial plans with my sisters in the evenings – actually saved me. It helped me move along the days and weeks that followed with a certain degree of acceptance. Not of the loss itself as much as the realization that the world continues to revolve despite devastation. Losing three people in six months pushed me to the brink of panic – things must change, I told myself. I need to really live out this life the way I have always wanted to before I run out of time.
And so, merely two months after my last great big loss, I cleaned house. I resolved to lighten the load of my life by taking on only what brings me joy. I get to choose now. I get to choose what life should mean to me.
It means living. Really living. But on my terms. Whether it be pushing back on things I no longer believe in or standing up for those that I still do. It means finding ways to make an impact in the world, knowing that there is simply no time for empty words.
In the past six months, I have walked away from many things. All spurred by the lessons brought about by lives tragically cut short.
We are all still grieving. My husband is grieving, my sister, who has lost two men in her life isn’t doing too well. My mother in law is still grieving. And I am grieving. But we are united in our grief. We have all crowded together in sadness, spent countless moments convincing each other of the joy and hope that comes with the fact that they are finally at peace. And because life goes on for those they’ve left behind, we must welcome it. And as we celebrate each milestone – every Father’s Day and birthday and anniversary throughout the years – we cling to the hope that we will see them again.
For now, we must carry on. There is so much life to be lived. Be sure to live it fully.
Joyfully, and on your terms.