Life is just one big fucking ocean, and sometimes those waves knock you down and wrestle the shit out of you for a while, and you stumble back to your towel, all jelly-legged.
But when you emerge from those waves, you always emerge a little stronger, just for having survived.
Waves and the ocean are probably the most cliche, overused metaphors for loss — but I can’t think of anything more accurate.
In June, I got a text from my dear friend Mary Beth (long-time readers will remember that it was her wedding I lost all the weight for):
You have found an inner strength that is beyond measure. While it’s probably not how you wanted to get to this point in your journey, you are surviving and thriving every day.
Every mom just wants to know that her little girl is taken care of, right?
For 33 years, my mom did so, so much for me. From driving in to sit on the couch and hold my hand as I had a panic attack to watching my dog when I went away, to everything in between. To probably buying 80% of my clothes because making my dad and I happy is what made her happy, and apparently her love language was J. Crew. Detangling my necklaces. (Does anyone have any pro tips on this one?!) Helping me clean out my closets. She would have done even more if I let her, but, you know, I’m an “adult” and all that, and I told her I appreciated ___ but needed to do it myself.
But what I’ve learned about myself in the past few years, and the time I’ve spent nurturing myself and working on self-growth is exactly what is allowing me to have some level of peace and ease sometimes through grief.
I’ve spent years building the toolkit I needed to get over this bridge (over troubled water?)(too much?)
Learning to admit when I’m struggling and ask for help — whether that means friends, family or a therapist. Or all three.
Finding meditation and a spiritual practice (and also revisiting my feelings on religion.)
Surrounding myself with the most amazing people I can find — and people who help me believe in myself and people who are there when I fall apart.
Learning to be OK with my own company — and sitting with my own thoughts.
As I walked back to my hotel after the Runner’s World 5K last weekend, I was overcome with a profound sense of calm and peace, that I hadn’t experienced in an incredibly long time (or maybe ever?) and believing that I’d picked up these self-care skills for a reason. To get me through this, this hardest year of my life.
Because my mom taught me in her life — and continues to teach me in her death — that life is for celebrating. It’s too damn short not to.
And so I’ll keep looking for the silver lining in every day and fighting on to be OK, for her sake.
I’ll miss you every day for the rest of my life, but I’m going to be OK, Mom, I promise. ❤️
Edited to add:
Do you believe in synchronicity? I do. After posting this, I listened to Oprah’s Super Soul podcast, and heard this powerful message from Eckhart Tolle, which is the much more eloquent elocution of what I was trying to say.