Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bitter or better?

When I was a young child, it was the “old people” who passed away. The ones who were 90.

Old. People.

They had grey hair and wrinkles for days. They were those who were on oxygen for years and had motorized wheel chairs. They had grandchildren and great grandchildren. They had lived though wars that were in my textbooks.

And then my grandmother died when I was 9.

A small wake up call, as she didn’t have grey hair at all. In fact, she was fun and full of life.

And then my friend Elvia passed away when I was 15.

She was driving home from purchasing her new car and her car just veered off the road. It seems the tires weren’t balanced properly.

And then my boyfriend Jeff died when I was 16.

He was just playing basketball, and his heart gave out.

And then my cousin Todd died in his early 20’s. He just passed in his sleep.

And then more.

And then my husband.

And then more husbands.

And friends…young friends, with young children.

People who I love dearly.

This is not what I expected at all.

I know that everyone dies. But I thought more of them would have grey hair when they did. Not that death is easy at any age…

I had no idea that being a grown up meant being submersed in so much heartache. If I knew that going in…I might not have been in such a hurry.

I’m 42 now and it seems like I’m in a vortex of people passing to the other side. People my age. People younger than me. And children! Was it always this way? Has it always been people passing so young and I was just shielded from it?

Sure back in the pioneer days when disease and hardship ran rampant, I get it. But today?

It hurts losing those that I love around me.  There are so many of late that I’m a little pissed off about it.

Which is completely selfish of me, I know.

Because if I talk the talk of my faith, I need to walk the walk too. And walking the walk means living in a way that is consistent with my beliefs. And If I did that? What would this living look like?

It would be joyful, I believe.

I would celebrate their freedom from the world’s cares.

I would celebrate life more authentically. I would embrace my hardships knowing that things could always be worse, and knowing hindsight is a noble teacher.

I have a home.

I have a family.

I have love.

I have so much.

If I wanted to honor those that passed I’d stop being so pissed off about it and DO something. Because I’m pretty sure if I had their vantage point in heaven, I wouldn’t want my loved ones taking this life for granted. I’d want them to live. REALLY live!

There is no good way to die. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Even if it’s expected, it’s never expected. It always leaves a gaping hole in our heart; it always fractures our soul, if even for a short time. But once the shock wears off and the scabs form to protect us from the hurt, we can honor these warriors that have gone before us by trying to live better, love better, appreciate better, forgive better, try better…

I want to be better.

For them.

For me.

For my family.

For my new husband.

For my life and the life of those around me.

What does that first step look like?

Maybe it looks just like this. Blogging more.

Maybe it looks a lot like a smile.

Regardless, there is a beginning…and I think I’m there.

I’m reading Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection.” This quote jumped off the page: “Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees—these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.”

Instead of numbing all the pain away, I’m going to lean into the sadness by going out and living today purposely, with joy, collecting happiness and light in the eyes of those sweet souls that live around me. 

And once that light is gathered? I’m going to give it away.

If we all do it, maybe this world will be better despite all the hurt.  Because I know we’re all hurting from something…that’s just how life works.

If we can’t take all the pain and turn it into something good, we’ll be miserable human beings for sure. If there is a reason for sadness, surely it is so that we may know joy. Yin and Yang.

We’ve got to do something.

Mindful, joyful engagement with each other might showcase our vulnerabilities, but really, aren’t the best friendships built out of vulnerable moments?

It’s ok that we’re hurting. But with that hurt we can choose to be bitter, or better. 

I choose better. 

What about you?

Another quote by Brene: "Happiness is a human emotion connected with our circumstance. Joy is a spiritual way of engaging with the world that's connected to practicing gratitude." 

Instead of letting the grief hinder us, maybe it can set us free.


  1. I needed this today, Meri. Thank you for a wonderful (as usual) post.

  2. Better, I'm choosing better. Hugs, sweet Meri! ❤️

  3. And in the funny complex way that we are, the anger is a part we must feel too. You are on point, with ALL of it. Your blog, your story is very powerful. I appreciate the wisdom that comes from your experiences and voice. Thank you. Sincerely.


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