What a week it has been. I didn’t know that it was possible to feel that tired. Life certainly wore me down over the last few days. The journey has been necessary, but long and windy.
I went away this weekend alone, to be with my family for our time of grieving. The drive up north is usually one that doesn’t seem to be too hard on me. But, I haven’t done the trip, for the reasons of a family death, in many years. So, I knew the journey would feel differently than it had in the recent past. I was reflective; sad; pensive; quiet. I was grateful for the time alone, to play my music loudly in my car and just think.
My cousin was not someone to whom I was closely connected over the last few years; he was familiar in my mind to me from when he was a small boy; he had the blondest hair I had seen on a boy in a long time; he was silly and liked to run and play. Over the last fifteen years, he went away to college, met the love of his life, got married, built a home, and had three children. Life was good to him. He was thirty eight years old.
Then, he died. Just like that. One minute he was with his family. An hour later, he was dead.
Tough. So tough.
So, I thought about that during my six hour trip. I thought about my older brother, whose death was not a surprise, not unexpected, who had been sick for years. Who had not always lived a good life making good choices, who had been manipulative and abusive toward others in his life. I had my brother on my mind. His death, his life, his torment.
I thought of my parents. They are aging. They are planning for the future when they are no longer on this earth. When they leave one of us, me, to handle all that is left behind. I thought of my love and I, being there for one another, trying to let go of our daughter to be independent, while still being involved and concerned about the choices that she makes.
I cried. I sang loudly. I listened to what my heart had to say.
I understood even more than before, that with life comes death. That even when we are not ready for it, death touches our lives. Death will come and we cannot stop it. That no matter what, the ones that I love will leave this earth, as will I. And, I can only enjoy the moments with them, as much as I can, and grieve the loss of them when they leave.
And go on.
Live life, embrace the moments, go forward, no regrets, breathe, be.
This trip this weekend was not just travel on a road, but a journey to destinations that I know that I have before me, to my heart and soul and all that it knows and fears at the same time. The anticipated goodbyes, the tears and grief and loss that I know I yet to face.
The journey helped me to understand that I am ready. Even when I feel like I am not, even when the pain seems too big to carry, I know that I will be able to get through. With the stars in my sky. With my family by my side. With my map in my pocket.
I know that the road may not be familiar, but it will be welcoming.