I didn’t grow up with a lot of happy holiday memories…
My mom experienced her loss when I was just two years old, and it didn’t come from death, but it may of well have for her. My parents divorced, and my mother was devastated, truth be told she still is today. It’s been 48 years, and the pain for her is still as raw as the day they split.
She quit on just about everything after that day.
She quit on joy
She quit on hope
She quit on living
She especially quit on loving
We existed, and she lamented what could have been, or in her eyes what still could be.
She clung to the idea that it could still be different, and she allowed her life to pass her by.
I was so young, and in many ways, she was my first coaching client. I coached her daily, tried to inspire ideas for change, and gratitude with all that remained.
Nothing mattered, she determined that life would never be okay again without him.
We hid from the world, stayed in the house, we didn’t adventure, explore, or even live. We didn’t celebrate holidays like the fourth of July; we watched others do it on TV. She refused to let happiness in, and she allowed her life to pass her by.
That was her journey, and for years it angered me that regardless of what came her way, she made the deliberate choice to pine away over a relationship that died just shortly after I was born.
I am no longer angry.
Who I am to say that her life choices were right or wrong? Her path is not my path, and her pain developed from a history I can’t always know or understand.
In so many ways, the way she raised me has primarily determined how I have chosen to bring my own two kids up after the death of their father.
When Mitch passed, I didn’t even realize that my immediate knee jerk reaction was to LIVE as boldly, bravely, and beautifully as I could, if not for me, for my babies.
When I tell you on this page that you get one life, it’s because I genuinely hope you find joy.
When I preach that those who went before would want you to LIVE, it’s because from the bottom of my soul I know that when you love someone you want to see them enjoy every moment of their existence.
When I tell you to get up and be your own hero, it comes from a place of personal experience and years of trying to save someone who wouldn’t save herself.
I’ve never written about this before, but I wanted you to read it today because my soul is calling me to share these words, and I’ve learned to listen to that voice.
Live beyond loss, whatever your loss looks like
Get up and take steps to shape your future
Don’t pine away over circumstances you can’t control
We all grieve
We all experience the pain of not getting the perfect life we planned.
We don’t all LIVE.
Living is a choice.
Today is a holiday, and while the circumstances may not be perfect, the day that lies ahead still has promise.
Take in the summer air, the smell of history, tradition, and the spectacle of a small-town parade.
Don’t rush to the grand fireworks finale without making memories along the way. The beauty of life does not come from the grandeur of the most significant moments but the small choices we make day after day.
You are still here for a reason.
You should LIVE.
Happy 4th of July.
Photo Credit: The amazing Michael Provost, your photos are gift to the world and I appreciate you allowing me to put my words against their beauty.