Sadness has surrounded me this week. Death, tragedies, heartache. A dear childhood friend, a “best friend” mother, and a beloved father were all lost to people in my circle of life. I passed a fresh flower memorial on the side of the road with people hovering by and discovered that a motorcyclist had been killed the day before. There are no words to express the sadness, the loss, the grief. One can only offer support, love, and friendship. I know this all too well. I also encountered several people, some strangers, others mere acquaintances, who had lost their spouses. I am trying to find the message, the answers, the reasons for so much all at once. There are no reasons, there are no answers, but I do believe there is a message. In conversation with a good friend who was dealing with her own trauma today, the lesson came to me. Life is tough. Life is not always fair. Life is a challenge.
“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”
As I read these words I realize how very true they are. I am not sure I would have completely understood them seven months ago. In the past when I dealt with challenges, struggles, and hurdles I always realized it was to better myself, my relationships, but losing a loved one magnifies everything by tens of thousands. I believe we are dealt a certain hand in life. Sometimes we are given simple tasks and sometimes we are given way more than we think we can handle, and, it’s in those moments that we ask WHY? Why me? But if I look around, it’s everywhere. Everyone is dealing with something. Some things are bigger, some are smaller, but everyone has SOME THING! I just have to choose HOW I deal. Do I break down, stop, and let life get the best of me, or do I choose to be stronger every day, put my feet on the ground and keep moving? I choose to move..to move towards a better life that offers happiness and hope for a better tomorrow.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
The past seven months have proven this to me. Every day presents a new challenge, a new hurdle to overcome, and every day I somehow dig deep to find the strength to get through it. Do I falter, shake, and stumble? Of course I do. Somedays I don’t even want to get out of bed because I am so afraid of what life is going to present. But I do. I put two feet on the ground, take two steps forward and keep going. Somedays it’s two steps forward, one step back, but at least I keep on going. I refuse to give up. Gregger would not want that and neither do I. People tell me all the time how brave and strong I am. Well, sometimes the outside is a lot stronger than the inside, but it’s working it’s way inward. It’s like smiling at a stranger when I least want to and suddenly being entrenched with a sense of warmth and sunshine. It happens. It works. So I practice being strong. The more I practice, the more it sinks in and the more it feels real. I will break tomorrow, next week and probably a year from now, but each time I will be a little bit stronger because I have made it through another day.
As cliche as it may sound I count my blessings, I am grateful for the goodness, and I try, try, try to seek the positive in every blessed day. As Annie said, “The sun will come out tomorrow…you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may…tomorrow, tomorrow…you’re always a day away!”