Honesty. Sorrow. Death.
I think for most of us, we’re pretty good at being honest in our daily lives.
We honestly tell our doctor how much or how little exercise we are actually getting in.
We honestly share with our boss the areas that are most troubling at work.
We speak honestly about our thoughts regarding the holidays, gifts, and how we like to celebrate.
But if we’re being true to ourselves, there’s one area of honesty that’s difficult:
Being honest with ourselves.
I’ve battled this reality for the majority of 2022… if I’m being honest.
If I’m being really honest with myself, 2022 has probably been the hardest year of my life.
A few people know all of the details. Most people don’t. And to be true to myself, I didn’t even realize all that I was experiencing while I was experiencing it. Thoughts, feelings, emotions have come up throughout the entire year, usually when I least expected them.
The past twelve months have been filled with loss, death, and heartache, and as we are approaching the holiday season and are practically IN the holiday season, the loss, death, and heartache is becoming more and more real.
If you have lost someone this past year, I see you. We may grieve differently, but there’s something that we all share right now in this holiday season: coming to learn and understand what life looks like without the ones we’ve lost.
We’re all learning to move forward.
There’s been too many times in the past year when I’ve had to tell people, friends, acquaintances that, “you’re not going to believe me if I told you.” And they don’t.
In about one month’s time I lost three of my four grandparents. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal because they all lived a very happy and full life, but the reality of losing them has been a lot different than I anticipated. I’ve never lost a grandparent before. I knew one day I would. But I didn’t expect to lose three all at once.
It felt sudden. It felt shocking. I didn’t know what to feel. The emotions and feelings came much later, months later. That’s what I’m dealing with now.
Then about four months later I lost my aunt. This was expected but, in a very different way, a really hard loss to go through. She was so young. She had so much life left. She was like a second mother to me throughout my childhood. My memories of playing at her house and being parented by her are very vivid. This was a loss that hit really close to home.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking about the loss in your life. Maybe the loss of loved ones. Maybe the loss of something instead of someone. The loss of a career. The loss of a dream. The loss of hope. The loss of self. I see you in this too.
In the past twelve months I’ve not only experienced the loss of loved ones, I’ve experienced the loss of dreams, the loss of self. There’s a lot to unpack in that one sentence, so maybe over a cup of coffee.
In the midst of it all it’s easy to feel like this year has just been a year of loss. Of sadness. Of disappointment. While it’s easy to feel those emotions, easy to get stuck there, and hard to come out of, you have to remember that where there is death, there is rebirth. Where there is loss, there is gain.
I’m trying to remember this for myself.
So this holiday season is figuring out how to move forward, how to live life without our loved ones in the way that we are familiar with, how to live fulfilling lives beyond the things we’ve lost.
This honesty of self has been the hardest lesson yet for me. I’ve had to allow myself to feel the pain, to feel the sorrow, to be okay with retreating from all of the people and all of the noise, and to focus on the things that I needed to focus on.
I’ve wanted to connect, I’ve wanted to reach out, but just haven’t been able to. That’s okay. I’ll get there. You’ll get there, too.
Where there is death, there is rebirth. There is light. It is there. You will see it.