Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lesson #37: What doesn't kill you makes you...

One thing I learned in 2010 was to never say, "Enough is enough." Or, "I can't take anymore." Because for some incredibly amazingly horribly strange reason, I kept taking more.

As the holidays crept in on us, my family wondered how we would get through. We knew it was going to be hard, and we were going to feel the absence of The One We Lost acutely. First came Thanksgiving, then His birthday. As Christmas drew near we braced ourselves. One more major holiday and then in January, the anniversary of His death and then maybe ... light at the end of the tunnel of grief?

But while we were bracing, we lost another one. My husband's grandfather passed away. As we planned that funeral, Son #2 abruptly left our home and quit speaking to anyone in the family. We couldn't understand his strange departure at first, especially as the family sunk into grief over the latest loss. But I've come to understand that Son #2 is grieving, horribly, himself. A combination of surviviors guilt, unaddressed grief, another loss, and pressures from his young wife caused him to flee, likely in an attempt to run away from the harsh realities of life.

We held a memorial service for grandpa one day and I got a call the next day that a beloved aunt of mine had a stroke. I rushed to the hospital to sit with my cousin and uncle. I just wanted to be there. What else was there to do?

I came home that night -- last night -- emotionally exhausted, begging the universe to knock it off. Give us a break. Let us have a holiday from grief. Please.

This morning, as dawn broke on the winter solstice and the sun shone briefly over the mountains after days of cloudy obscurity, I felt a sense of happiness and joy that has been absent for a while. As our Earth turns, today marks the last of this year's encroaching night. From here on out -- for a few short months at least -- the sun will come back a little more each day. It will bring warmth, fresh life, and hope with it.

And that's something, at least.