Until Death Don’t We Part

 

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I didn’t post last week.

And, to be honest, I am very tempted to take the easy way out of this and attribute my silence to poor time management. It isn’t too much of a tall tale, either; I am, after all, swiftly becoming a gifted procrastinator in my old age. I could write a whole post about that—the intersection of perfectionism and procrastination—but, in the spirit of this blog, I’ll give you the truth, even if it’s difficult to do so.

My intention when creating content for this blog was to always have my rough drafts written by Wednesdays, final edits completed by Sunday evenings, and new posts published and shared across social media bright and early on Monday mornings. On paper, it sounds like a fool-proof recipe for consistent blogging. In actuality…things happen…and while there was a very rough draft in existence by Wednesday, it seems the Universe had other plans (or maybe I should say blog topics?) in store for me.

What, you ask, could have persuaded me to discard my rough draft?

Well, there was a barn involved, with light and music filtering through every open window.

There was laughter, a fire pit, and a borrowed blanket spread across my knees.

There was, in short, a wedding.

Weddings, as I am sure you all know and have experienced, can be absolutely wonderful. They’re celebrations—of love, of beginnings. There’s usually good company, good food and good entertainment involved. They’re a chance to dress up and let loose. And, as this particular wedding taught me, they can be perspective-shifting.

Prior to traveling 7+ hours to attend the wedding in question, prior to pinning my hair up or blowing bubbles as the couple walked down the aisle holding hands, I was stressed. I was emotional. I was overtired. I had planned to share some of that—the recent loss of a much-loved great uncle, the helplessness of watching from afar as my grandmother lay ill in the hospital, the fact that suffering and death has become as routine in my world—the world of cancer survivorship—as brushing my teeth. I had even committed some of that anxiety and grief to paper, but it never progressed beyond a first draft. The words, instead, were hushed by the soft shadows spilling across the wedding venue’s lawn.

I could still take the easy way out of this post—it’s not too late yet—and tell you that I spent too much time writing and rewriting a newspaper article in the days before the wedding. I could blame last week’s silence on that…or I could tell you that the venue was decorated with wooden signs, painted with quotes about love and belonging.

I could tell you that I should have checked-in a little less with friends and family before the wedding…or I could tell you that my significant other sat beside me during the ceremony, holding my hand—just as he did at his uncle’s funeral in January.

I could tell you that I should have focused on my blog instead of packing and repacking my suitcase in preparation for the wedding…or I could tell you that at that funeral, the minister eulogized that “grief is the price of love”. While I can’t remember her exact words (and I wish I could), it was clear that, even in our happiest moments, the seeds of sorrow are sown.

So, yes, I could blame my silence on procrastination, or I could simply tell you that it takes time to focus, not on loss and suffering, but on love. On fond memories. On laughter. On hope. To love—our families, our friends, our partners—is a decision. And, like any decision, there are consequences for it. The decision to love is, ultimately, the root of our pain, but it is also the salve that lessens the ache.

You will suffer because of love. You will know tears and loss. And it’s okay. It’s okay to mourn, to be hurt, because it means you were there—all there with that person—using that wonderful heart muscle of yours. When the tears slow a bit, though, remind yourself that love doesn’t just go away.

Remember the moments that made your face and belly hurt from laughter.

Let your ears be filled with the echo of comforting, past conversations.

Summon up all the memories you made together, letting them burn bright and warm when suffering comes to call.

It took me a whole week to find these words, to change my perspective, but I am determined to have more of those moments, more of those conversations—no matter the price.

I am choosing love.

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