The past 2 years have been my most challenging… mentally and spiritually. I write this in the hope of moving forward while putting rest to what’s past. This is an honest vent… and it may not be pleasant, but it is an effort towards understanding the issues that run deep within me.
In the past two years, I’ve suffered the losses of many loved ones… Different kinds of losses… The type of loss you might somewhat be prepared for, another type of loss that is excruciatingly unexpected, and one last kind of loss that is a little in between–both expected and not at the same time.
Why was life giving me this repetition of loss, after loss, after loss?
Being good at handling a loss, or coping, is not something I wanted to practice in this repetition of experience, but a valuable lesson revealed itself to me each time.
The first type of loss, the expected, would be the loss of two of my grandparents–the losses happening only two months apart. They lived happily and long. They each had happy homes with full families and shared decades of laughter and love, survived by children and grandchildren. They completed their lives here on Earth, and though this type of loss is painful, I believe we would be lucky to live as full as they have. I hated losing them… But I know that we all would eventually share their fate, and that they lived long enough to have experienced what many others wouldn’t.
The second type of loss, the unexpected, would be the loss of my 9-month old dog and my uncle, who was a big part of my life and was suddenly struck with cancer. My dog, only a puppy, was learning tricks, learning how to pee outside, growing larger & larger by the week, and was not his full size yet. His paws were still pink and his teeth were still growing. I was excited to have a new member of my family and excited to raise and care for him, because he was my baby. One day, I left him to be cared for by a friend. He managed to run into the front yard of a busy street and was hit by a car. In finding out, I felt a deep pain that I could not explain… Can’t explain because he was only a dog, and not a real baby. Nevertheless, I was his mom. I fed him. When I was at work, I thought of him. I arranged for his care in my absence. I was teaching him and loved him. He cried whenever I left him and he wanted to be by my side, always. He was truly my baby… He was pure and new to the world… and I felt so much fear and pain in finding out he died.
My uncle got sick very suddenly. After some tests, doctors diagnosed him with Stage 4 lung cancer. I couldn’t process how to deal with this. There were not many people in my life with any stage of cancer… what happened to stages 1, 2, and 3?! I never asked how long my uncle had to live, because I hoped that my prayers could override the facts and prognoses I was reading online. Two months later, my uncle passed into heaven. I became angry at life, angry at God, and angry at our bodies and the diseases that come with it. I couldn’t accept knowing that a life’s time is limited… And that we may have to prepare for sudden change… But my Uncle was strong and held fast in prayer with my family surrounding him always. These kinds of losses easily leave me angry and bewildered at life.. And have left scars. On the other hand, I understand that to cope, it’s necessary to accept that even those who are blameless and faultless, will experience pain and suffering, and this is a realization we must boldly accept as part of life.
The last type of loss–the in-between, was the kind that you knew deep down inside had to happen, but did not want to. Another one of my dogs was gradually getting sick, and as much as I wanted to keep her alive, I was forced to decide whether her quality of life was worth the illnesses and pain she was suffering. Again, while she was only a dog, I was her mother for 10 years. It is a difficult thing to decide whether or not a precious life should continue breathing and I hate for anyone to be in that position… because I am not God, why should I have to decide when a life should, or shouldn’t, end? That question is unbearable.
I also lost someone in my life in the sense of a breakup, although, it felt like a marriage dissolved, having been with him for nearly 7 years and up to a point of discussing marriage and the future. It is hard to decide when ending a relationship is time. Having to evaluate when the pain outweighs the joy, or when the suffering outweighs hope sometimes feels like an impossible task, but one must go through it or continue to drag out the uncertain pain.
I have been through a lot… Some of the pain I assume I could have prevented and my friends and families have seen me at my ugliest, but what I learned is that our time here is not promised… We don’t really know that we have tomorrow, who will be by our side tomorrow, or that tomorrow you will get to do or say what you wanted to, to someone else…
The most important thing is now–who is around you now, the love you share today with those around you, and that with any second today, you can turn anything around.
I thank my friends and family for being my rock through these difficult years. I draw strength from this pain, and understand that if I am alive today, I am blessed with the greatest gift of life and breath. The best I could do is to move forward with the lessons each person and relationship has shown me… honoring the virtues they did, and paying forward the love I’ve learned through them.
I am surrounded by people who care for me. I have people to care for. I am grateful. I am love. I am alive, well, and destined to be of purpose through this. While I have experienced the most pain I’ve ever felt, my resilience and strength has been tested, and dangt, I’m still alive. A warrior inside is waiting to be unleashed, and what stands now is a survivor. Thank you for your relentless love and support. I aim to show love and be love as long as I live–whether we are in each others lives for a season, a reason, or a lifetime.
I pray that God continue to bless you, the lives of those who’ve past, and the lives of those around you.