Monday, May 6, 2013

It's The Little Things

It is said that in grief, the first year is the hardest.  In some ways, that is true.  Initially, the loss manifests itself like daggers in your heart.  It is so painful you can’t imagine that you will possibly live through this, and quite frankly, you don’t want to because you’d do anything to be with the one you’ve lost.  The pain starts to get less intense and then a birthday comes, the holidays, or the anniversary of the death and you are slammed up against the wall (or more likely, curled in a ball in your bed) with grief once again.  I made it through the first year and breathed a sigh of relief thinking things would get better.  I had bought into the fact that the first year was the hardest and I was over the hump.

There are a few people that actually say the second year is harder than the first and I am starting to think there is some truth to that.  The first year, the pain is intense a whole lot of the time.  You expect yourself to be a mess because it has only been X number of months since the tragedy.  By the time the second year rolls around, you know you will survive the excruciating pain that will, at times, inhabit your heart.  You don’t always erupt into tears at inappropriate times and in inconvenient places.  You don’t even cry everyday anymore. You are able to welcome more joy into life and not feel guilty about laughing and being happy. Smiles come at the memories of the love you shared.

That’s where the second year can get hard.  Grief is like a kick in the pants.  It can motivate you to do wonderful things (more to come on that so very soon, I promise), but it also still has a tendency to knock you flat on your butt – sometimes at the most unexpected times.
One of the most important lessons I have learned over the past year is that it is all about the little things.  That is two fold. The first applies to how you can help someone you love who is grieving.  The little things are magnified so big.  I realize that it can be so hard to know how to help someone who is grieving.  I have been there myself.  Just at a complete loss for what to do.  But, the fact of the matter is, no grand gesture is needed.  A phone call, a text that says “I love you”, a song, a card, a hug, someone just asking how I am doing and really wanting to know the answer, sharing a joke, ice cream, cupcakes, anything to bring a smile makes such a difference.  All of those things you might consider little seem SO VERY BIG.  The important thing to remember is that you can’t make someone who is grieving cry.  The tears are already there.  You may just be giving permission to let them fall, which is often the best gift you can give.  The worst is just leaving the griever alone.  Even though it is probably not true, that can make them feel like they have lost everyone.

This weekend, I had a hard time.  I am not quite sure why.  There was no real reason, but as I mentioned, the second year is surprising.  Amidst the unexpected tears are also little surprises.  Good surprises.  Reminders that life should not be taken for granted and it is the little things that matter the most.

Little things that made me happy this weekend:

-    The Kentucky Derby – I bet on Orb and went to bed Saturday night $135 richer.  Winning!! (Hadn't heard that for awhile, had you?)

-    A friend who helped me clean out my summer and winter clothes.  I had 15 shopping bags full of folded clothes to give away, donate or consign.  That is ridiculous, but my mom makes me keep all of my clothes because “you never know when you might wear them again”, so many of the clothes I have had since high school.  Yikes!

-    Tackling the Type 2 questions on the LSAT.  Now to just nail those Type 4s and logic games.

-    A conversation with Mike’s mom.  This instantly makes me feel better.

-    Rockin’ out at church to some awesome music (Oh Happy Day!) and a message that I needed to hear.  Pray big prayers!  More on that later.

-    A lunch date with my dad

-    Time at my parents house with “the girls” aka our dogs

-    Watermelon and Boom Chick-A Pop.  Have you had Boom Chick-A Pop?  It’s my new addiction love

-    Finding an awesome graphic designer to give my blog a new look.  Stay tuned!

-    A few text messages from some friends.

-    A compliment from my mom

-    Carrie Underwood’s new single, “See you Again”.  I will see you again.  This is not where it ends. I will carry you with me until I see you again.  Sometimes I can feel my heart breaking, but I am strong.  I carry on because I know I will see you again.

I am learning day to day to appreciate the little things.  They mean so much.

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