Here I am. September 17th. What a crappy day of which to be reminded. It has been 365 days since I lost my brother. Which means it has been 366 days since I have spoken to him and 373 days since I have given him a hug. Surreal.
People keep asking how I am, which is so lovely and kind. So here we go.
I have learned a lot in 365 days.
I am strong. Very, very strong. It doesn’t get easier per se, but the sharp pain of it all softens. I miss him every day. It is, for lack of a better word, weird. I guess the shock has worn off but I still catch myself thinking… what? Is this all real? How is he gone? I’ve waded through a swampy year of grief and haven’t shattered to pieces forever. A friend gave me a book called “More Beautiful Than Before” by Steve Leder which discusses how suffering transforms us- and I think it’s accurate. “Pain cracks us open,” he writes. “It breaks us. But in the breaking, there is a new kind of wholeness.” I am not the same person anymore. I realized that early on… I remember saying I will never again be the person I was last week… my whole world has changed. Maybe I can write more about that for my birthday… 40… soon.
People are good. When you go through something as trying as this you find out you are quite loved. I spoke about gratitude when I gave my eulogy at my brother’s funeral. I still feel so much gratitude. I am grateful for my children, my husband, my parents, my brothers (yes, both of them, I know Thad provided me so much strength from above), my aunts, cousins, all my in-laws, my friends and Thad’s friends. I had (and still have) hundreds of people there to scoop me up when I most needed it and support me unconditionally. That is an incredible thing.
Life is short, guys. Do the things you want. Be around the people you want. Get rid of the rest. That simple. It is just too short and there are no guarantees, so don’t waste it.