It’s that time of year again… the weather is changing and allergies are flaring up, parents are rejoicing that their kids are back in school, and Hobby Lobby is throwing the coming holidays in our faces already. Ah, yes, Summer is indeed over and Fall is just around the corner. Growing up, this was the beginning of my most favorite time of the year. I love crisp air and falling leaves, the joy of celebrating the holidays, but mostly the fact that my birthday in early November signifies the beginning of an enchanted two months of back to back parties, of which Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite (shocking, I know. My love of food runs dangerously close to my love for my children). While I have had some massive upheavals of tradition, consistency, and dependability the last 3 times this season has begun, this year proves to be very… interesting.
On Wednesday this week, I discovered the root of some pretty gnarly and sudden anxiety/anger/agitation. It happened when I hoisted open the door of my storage unit for the millionth time, but this time I was instantly beside myself with frustration and stress at the sight of all the shit I own. What is wrong with me? And OH MY GOD, if I have to dig into this storage unit one more time, someone’s gonna pay! It’s been almost a year for crying out loud… oh, yeah, almost exactly a year. Yep. This. Is. Stupid. And with that, I spun myself into a very nicely woven nest of very bad and negative and toxic emotions. I am not proud of the two hours that followed, but it is what it is and it ultimately has led me to today, Sunday, where I am in a much better place.
What I realized after 2 hours of feeling all the self-deprecating feels, is that, the one year of Tyrel’s death is coming. And, ironically, although my conscious mind was completely oblivious to it, this exact week is the week Tyrel moved to Texas, which turned out to be the very beginning of the last tragic leg of his life. So… I move effortlessly in and out of OK-ness for now as I am working on going through what is mostly his belongings in my storage unit.
Right now I am OK. In fact, I’d like to kick-start the beginning of some pretty awful one year-markers by doing something perhaps a little non-traditional (I mean, really, what kind of “traditions” actually form around tragic shit like this in the first place). Tonight as I was thinking about last year at this time and how I had absolutely NO idea what was about to come our way, I caught myself remembering how on the most chaotic, sudden, life altering and earth-shattering day of my life, there were people who ran, flew, and flocked to my side. And, here is where I choose to dwell tonight and probably for the next three weeks.
I was never alone, though I felt it.
I was never unloved, though I lost it.
I was never in need, though I feared it.
I was never lost, though I couldn’t understand it.
I was never broken, though I never felt more sure I was.
I remember how my friend raced across town after one text to be by my side while I endured unthinkably traumatic moments like watching the father of my children being wheeled away in a body bag. I remember how my other friend flew a thousand miles to hold my hand when I viewed my first love’s cold body. I remember how friends drove from all over the area and surrounding areas to help me think straight, sort through details, prioritize, and most excrutiating of all… to pick me up, carry me by the arms, and usher me in to tell my children about their dad. And then hold us afterward. I remember how none of these people asked me to behave, required me to have tact, or insinuated a “right” way to go about this. Every single one of them just held me, loved me, and scooped up the pieces of my life as they crumbled in front of me. These people were the glue that kept me together over the last year so I could be a solid rock for my kids to stand on. There were people in the first hours, days, weeks, and months after his death that are now etched in the walls of my heart. They are my angels. And this is what I choose to remember and focus on as I begin living the first anniversary. Because guess what? I’m still breathing. And they’re still in my life, loving me well, holding me up when my knees buckle, showing my kids what family is, and proving the best part of humanity not only still exists, but it heals.
I hope that wherever your journey has led you, you can take a moment to remember who is in your corner.
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