Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would. – E.V
I can remember the first New Year’s Eve that ended the year from hell. I happened to be by myself that night as 2009 slipped into eternity; everyone underestimated just how bad things would have been for me, including myself. I shouldn’t have been alone. But being alone that new year’s eve taught me something today.
Loneliness is inevitable. It doesn’t matter who is in your village, your tribe, your BFF’s list, your soul mate. You can have the most impressive amount of support. God knows I did. But in the end you are the one who gets to choose your survival rate. You.
You hold the key to your own happiness – that sounds so trite and cliche, but it’s only so because it’s true. You just have to want it badly enough, or the reverse might be true, as it was for me. You have to get good and tired from the darkness. You have to be ready for some heart-wrenching goodbyes. The goodbyes we had no control in making, and the ones we must make in order to survive at all. But most of all, the ones that depend on us doing more than merely surviving this wild and precious life — thriving in spite of the pain the past has dealt us.
Goodbye to our fears.
To our losses.
To the pain that has become so much a part of us we can’t imagine not being entirely wrapped up in.
To the pain we find comforting.
To relationships holding us back from personal growth and healing.
To the self-talk that gets us down.
To the self-doubt.
To the pressure we feel from others, including social media.
To the voices that tell us we can’t, we won’t, we shouldn’t.
Every year since 2009 New Year’s has been a holiday that makes me anxious, tired and weak inside. I considered each new year another tick on the metaphorical tally of years without my daughter. I can’t believe it’s been __ years since she died. In other words, I dreaded the new year. I wanted to stay young, fresh in my grief because it kept me as close as humanly possible to her. But nothing could be further from the truth. It only felt like it because grief was still this open wound that hadn’t yet begun to heal.
This year I’m not counting years since she died. And while that number will inevitably grow bigger and bigger, and I do keep track, because that is what mothers do, I’m not walking into this new year with my head down. I’m holding my head up. This year doesn’t have to be something I dread. This is still life. I still get to do life.
I still get to dream and wish and hope.
Hug and love and give back so much until it completely exhausts me.
I still get to make an impression in someone’s life. I still get to draw and write and go back to school.
I still get to raise the ones God gave me here. I get to tell them all about their big sister.
I get to do life. It’s not ideal, but it still an incredible gift.
I am coming into this new year, and choosing a word as a mantra to focus on throughout all of 2016. This year comes with many, many changes in our personal lives. Three out of four of us will be in school (me included!). My husband and I launch into new career paths that we’ve never stepped foot in before.
Exciting, heart-racing changes.
For the first time in a long, long time I am embracing a change that does not revolve around my grief or pain. There was a time that would have brought me so much guilt, that I would probably not make the change, but today that story has changed. Everything I’ve been through has brought me to this point of letting go, and ironically embracing too. It has recreated who I am, my outlook on life and everything I hold dear.
I don’t know where you are in life, but I hope you will do some soul searching as the this year turns into last year. Looking inward, captivating whatever it is your heart is ready to do. It might be another heavy year of trying to survive, it might be rising again from the ashes, finding the courage to smile and love life again. It might be the year to set things free. It might Your Year. Your year where you come home and welcome light back into parts of your soul you never imagined could be lit up again.
The thing that will surprise you the most after tragedy is your own tenacity. Your capacity for life and love and light in spite of the darkness that has prevailed in the past.
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Check out my word affirmation coloring pages on Etsy, centered around healing and restoration:
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