The story of love is hello and goodbye. ~~Jimi Hendrix
I’ve had many relationships in my life that have come and gone, for a variety of reasons. Often, to overcome the sadness that often arrived with the end of the relationship, I tried to find a lesson.
This morning, as I reflected on 2015, I thought about saying goodbye to the year as if saying goodbye to a loved one. After all, I said goodbye to several in 2015. Also, if you think about it, I had a relationship with all 365 days of 2015. Good days. Sad days. Days I loved. Days I hated. Days I understood. Days I struggled to understand.
So, here’s what I learned in 2015:
From my mom’s death: I was very fortunate to have both of my parents until well into middle-age. I’m lucky and grateful to still have my dad, but my mother passed away earlier this year. Before that, people who’d already lost one or both parents would tell me there’s nothing like it, yet, they couldn’t seem to verbalize their feelings about the loss.
Let me try. When my mother died, it was my first experience with “never” and “forever.” Of course, we use those words all the time. I’ll love you forever. I’d never do that. But it was only after my mom died that I truly experienced the hugeness of the two words.
She’s gone…forever. Never, never coming back. I’ll never be able to call her again. I’ll never see her wave goodbye to me from the front door. I’ll never have the “opportunity” to roll my eyes at anything she says. I’ll never get to wonder if she’d like a certain gift for Christmas, will never hear her say “Happy birthday” again.
Experiencing the depth of “never” and “forever” has taught me two things:
- Don’t say or do anything I might regret–forever. And don’t withhold saying something I need to say. I’m grateful I told my mother I loved her the last time I saw her, even though I’d just finished rolling my eyes over the “discussion” we’d just had.
- Don’t take those you love for granted. Forever and never are right around the corner.
From my uncle’s death: I experienced the power of compassion from my sister, Cyndie, who for weeks, stayed by Uncle Fizzer’s side before his death, only a month and a half after our mother’s death. She’s my compassion mentor.
From my friend’s death: Once again, I learned that never and forever are right around the corner. I spoke to him three days before he took his life, on a day he apparently already knew his plans. It still hurts that he didn’t say “goodbye.”
But I learned something from his death that I think will be a life changer. For the dozen years I knew him, I often tiptoed around an 800 lb gorilla, to avoid saying things that I thought needed to be said, fearing he’d cut me off.
In the end, he cut me off anyway…forever…without saying goodbye. Maybe if I’d had the courage to be a TRUE friend, an honest friend, he’d still be alive.
Those are all pretty heavy events, and although it’s those three events that will forever mark 2015 for me, I did learn other things, too:
- My sequel is not going to write itself. (Haha! I already knew this from the last three years, but what’s an end-of-year blog post without putting this at the top of my list?)
- Proceeds from my art and writing are nice, but hardly enough to support myself, so it’s nice to have a regular paycheck again.
- A dog brings a kind of joy nothing else can bring.
- I can adjust to just about anything.
- It’s rarely about me.
- Not much matters in the long run.
- A touch can speak louder than words.
- It’s so nice to work on a blog while Steve cleans the bathrooms. 🙂
And, instead of listing resolutions or goals for 2016, (I’m not usually very successful with those) here are a few things I’d like to learn:
- It doesn’t really matter what anybody thinks of me, even though I learned #5 already.
- There’s a fine line between being “authentic” and giving too much information. Where is that line?
- Same with finding the balance between saying what needs to be said and keeping my mouth shut. Problem is, that’s a subjective balance. 🙂
And on that note, I wish you all a happy New Year!