I hardly have to explain where I’ve been for the last year, but I will since it warrants more than the standard “2020” response. As 2020 merged into 2021, I found myself faced with a mountain that had been building upon itself for quite some time. And as I was deciding how to tackle the Everest, life delivered what I can only deem the most devastating moment of my life. And that statement is not intended to be dramatic, in the slightest. Experiencing the sudden and unexpected death of my sister’s beloved husband; a brother in-law who was simply one of the best humans I’ve ever known, created a debilitating grief that basically catapulted me into a territory that was already pretty dim. I went from cracked, to broken, to downright shattered.
So, I’ve been in hiding for what has been a long year of grief and battling what seems like an unsurmountable weight of affliction. After the tragic and horribly heartbreaking loss of my brother in-law, I began to recognize that much of my previous year was also spent grieving losses, in other forms. Several friends had to point it out to me because admittedly, I didn’t really know what grief was. Of course, I’ve experienced loss (grandparents, a beautiful aunt of mine, a miscarriage) but in the past year or so, the bereavements have been unparalleled. They have definitely evoked a different story of sorrow. And of course, lest none of us forget how COVID has impacted our lives in its own challenging and frustrating ways. With the culmination of it all, my walls have felt like they’re caving in from every angle; socially, mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.
Vulnerability is hard, but it’s one of the most relatable things a human can share. So let me tell you, I am broken. I am being forced to make decisions that I don’t necessarily like, but I know they’re essential to healing and moving forward. I am sad. I miss my brother in-law terribly and the pain I have watching my sister endure this heartache brings me to tears, almost daily. I feel helpless when it comes to my darling niece and nephews. There is nothing I can do that will bring back their incredible daddy. I feel removed. I haven’t been the most engaging mother to my own children for the last year because I’ve been so consumed with doubt, worry and pain. I am disappointed and angry. With things, with people, with circumstances, with our country and the realities of such a fallen world. And I am tired. Because the intricacies of human emotion can be more exhausting than any physical efforts or even a lack of legitimate rest.
But with all of that vulnerability and near-vocal vomit, I have my faith. Which is honestly the only thing that has me standing upright, amidst this troublesome trek. And I have dear friends who have poured out love, encouragement and support. Both near and from afar. Human connection is incredibly valuable and I’m not sure I’ve ever relied on it so much than I have in the past year. Even when the world made it difficult.
One of my favorite ways to connect with others is through words. If you’re here, it’s no secret that words are my love language. A sweet friend gifted me a headband a couple months ago and it is covered with beautiful words. Affirmations that remind me of the things I often forget I am, especially amidst the calamities and crisis.
·fierce ·strong ·beautiful
·driven ·bold ·ambitious
·radiant ·powerful ·confident
·limitless ·worthy ·survivor
Perhaps you’re wading through deep waters right now, too. If so, please pick out one of those affirmations above and speak it out loud. Remind yourself that your circumstances don’t define you. This is very hard for me to remember and something I’m working on, myself. But I know that if I can cover myself with some of these words, I’ll better believe them along the way. And if I can inspire just one person to see themselves in better light, even when it’s dark, then maybe my struggle will help someone else’s story.