It is often said that life is what you make of it, and that our view is what we make of it as well. So much of life depends on our attitude and optimism or negativity. And indeed, it is. There is a reason the saying “Change your attitude and change your world.” No matter who we are, where we are in life, what we are doing or where we want to be, it is never too late to change direction. And part of that is changing your attitude. I have also written quite extensively on how we are the authors of our lives. We have the power to make our lives the amazing epic novel it was always meant to be.
If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.
And so, it is in this spirit that I move forward. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, they can all hold a certain amount of pain for those who have lost precious family members. Grief is a many legged thing. I have decided to change my attitude toward and relationship with grief.
This was the second Father’s Day since Dad’s death, and Mom’s second anniversary will be next month. I was a mess for both last year. I had lost 5 people I loved dearly in 8 months. I would lose another 3 in the four months that followed, making it a grand total of 8 people in a 12-month period. I was grief stricken for most of last year.
As I was sitting in the steak house last night waiting for my friend, I was sad when I saw all the others there with their fathers. It was a painful reminder that mine was no longer with me. And then I watched them all, laughing and smiling and felt thankful that I had my Dad with me for so many years. And then I thought of how far I have come in those short 12 months.
A decision was made in that moment, a shift of attitude. This year, I will celebrate how far I have come, how much strength they gave me, and how resilient they taught me to be. I will honor them by being as strong as they taught me to be. I will honor them by being ever hopeful and seeing the beauty in this world. They taught me to see the sunrise, the flowers, the wonder of this world. They taught me that your life is bigger than any one thing, or any one moment, or any one person. And they taught me to pick yourself up and get on with it.
I love them and miss them every day and always will. But there is a difference in living with grief and living in it. I will always live with the grief of losing them. You never stop missing your loved ones. In that respect you never stop grieving. But you do not have to actively love in grief forever. Your loved ones would not want you to be sad forever, they would want you to live and be happy and learn to navigate this new normal.
There is no specific timeline for grief, everyone goes through it in their own time. And this is my time, right now, to make this decision to shift my attitude. Grief and I have become very well acquainted. And if she is going to be my friend and stay in my life, she better hold on tight. Because my life, and honoring the strength my wonderful parents gave me, is going to be a fun ride.