This is the "Year Of Firsts". Anyone that has lost a loved one knows what this means. It means you limp along with a broken heart and holidays hit the hardest punch. My nephew Jake died in March. So far we made it through his birthday (the first one since his death)and now Thanksgiving.
I was crying on the treadmill, crying on my Frosted Flakes and crying in my coffee. So I figured I'd just blog it out.
My family hasn't gone through a shocking loss as we did with Jake, so we feel a little lost and dizzy. He had a grand mal seizure and that was it. How dare he leave without asking for my permission, dammit. I'm his aunt; the one he called when he was having a tough day, worried about his internship or had a new philosophy on life. And now he's gone. Forever. Fucking FOREVER! That's insane.
Anyway, we're all stumbling along trying to figure out how to live and breathe when he isn't. It sucks ass. March flew by in such a blur, but I do remember my brother-in-law being surprised at the lack of choices in urns. He said, "I know Jake would hate this urn, but it's not like we can walk down the street to 'Urns-R-Us' for crissake."
It must be noted that at this point we all had a break from reality. We simply lost our minds.
After the "Urns-R-Us" comment he said, "Kelly, it's ridiculous. We put the urn in the backseat next to Holly. Before I started driving, I turned around and said, 'Holly, buckle your brother in. He's obviously not going to do it himself.' So she did. She seatbelted his urn in the backseat. What the hell are we doing?"
What are we doing? We're trying to live. We're trying to laugh. We're trying to repair our hearts. And we're learning compassion.
I never realized people walked around feeling this way until my sister and I went to the airport to pick up our parents. We wore sunglasses and basball caps and choked back our grief until we weren't in public anymore.
People that seem crabby or unhappy probably have good reason. Who knows what kinds of heartbreak people are dealing with? Who cares if they don't greet me with a thousand-watt smile. Maybe they're barely keeping it together while they recover their spirit. I used to walk around feeling so offended when someone didn't return my smile. I don't take things personally anymore. People are entitled to their emotions; the entire spectrum of it.
Anyway, my brother-in-law was right. Jake would hate that urn. My sister is currently taking a pottery class to make a new one. One that represents his passions and interests. I think it's been incredibly healing for her to have a part in creating a home for him.
She had a rough day recently and I asked, "If someone could offer you the opportunity that Jake was never born, therefore you wouldn't feel this pain, would you? Would you take it all back and not feel the pain?"
She didn't even hestitate. "No. I wouldn't take back one minute of loving him."
We hurt because we love. And love is always worth it. I wouldn't take it back either. Today I'm thankful for the twenty-two years he was here. I loved Jake when he was here and that love isn't taken away just because he's not here anymore. I get to keep that love I have for my nephew tucked safely in my heart.
So there we have it. Be thankful for all the people in your life today. Whether they're here or not. The love you have is never worthless or a waste of energy.