June 11th

10 years ago today was the hardest day of my life. The day my life forever changed. I barely remember the flights that took me from Los Angeles to Raleigh. I alternated between sobbing and passing out the whole way. I remember a woman who sat beside me on the first plane. She lost her husband in Afghanistan and said, “I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t get easier.” I sobbed harder.

I remember waiting for my luggage at baggage claim and a man who smelled like cigarettes handing me a $2 bill and saying, “Just know that you are loved.” I still have the $2 bill. 

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I got married a few months ago. I gave my girl friends custom made tumblers with the words, “You are so loved,” written in cursive on the side. 

Last night, my husband and I played guitar and worked on a painting for our new house, while Bob Marley played in the background and our dog snoozed on the couch. 

It reminded me of those first few months, ten years ago. I spent a lot of time painting then. I didn’t know what else to do. The painting was healing for me. A way to momentarily forget about reality. Something I could do without having to think. Thinking was so painful. The next few years, whenever June 11th rolled around, I’d paint. 

It’s just by happen chance, (is there such a thing?), that I was painting again last night. The memories are still painful, of course, but over time, June 11th has lost its grip on me.

I don’t know why we have to lose people we love, but I can tell you this: The woman on the first flight was wrong. It does get easier. Jibrey was right in what he often said, life does go on. And the cigarette smelling mystery man at RDU baggage claim was right, too. We must never forget that we are so, so loved. 

In the Wake of Grief

When you lose someone who is the most important part of your life, your world changes. And so do you. Inevitably and irreversibly, you’re not the same person that you were before the tragedy.

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But this must be seen for what it is, a blessing. The silver lining in an otherwise black hole of loss. See, some people only get to live one life, but some are given two. Perhaps, as we each navigate this world and our relationships, we can all see it as a new beginning, a second chance at life, each time we cycle round and round.

June 11, 2013. A Year Looking Back.

Hard to believe today marks a year. A year of pain, longing and questions but also a year of healing, growth and indescribable grace. I question whether we can fully comprehend the sweetness of life without first experiencing its bitterness. Today, as I miss my best friend like always, all I can think is what an incredibly sweet gift it was to do life with him. I treasure every memory.

The Best Things: Head vs. Heart

The best things, they cant be captured. To try is fleeting. They flutter around like butterflies, here one minute gone the next. An ever elusive bunch of things. And when we grasp for them, we miss.

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Still, the brain struggles to catch moments, to hold them like hostages in memory and describe them later with words.

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But this is what we have hearts for. Our hearts get it. Our hearts know that the best things, can’t be described with mere words. They must be felt. Our hearts know that these things weren’t meant to be captured or even understood, only appreciated.