When someone you love leaves the planet, you are no longer quite the same person. Wishing to return to your old self is an exercise in defeat. Instead, recognize that you are growing into a new self. This new self will integrate love, loss and change. Life is always about change and integration.
We can hardly turn on our TVs without seeing promos that reveal a child who died 32 years ago returning on ABC's new Sunday night drama, Resurrection. The promos pose this question: What if someone you lost returned?
When tragedy strikes, it is often our first response to look for someone to blame. The parents. The school system. Even the victim. But arguably, when society scapegoats the parents and family of someone who has died, we lose not only the victim, but the family as well.
What did it mean that there were no handbooks for me? That people asked me to be strong in the face of the biggest loss I'd ever experienced or imagined? At times I felt like I didn't deserve to feel so shattered, especially in the shadow of my parents' immense loss.
As I admired the heartfelt sentiment scrawled across my dainty wrist, a fast, fluttery sensation tumbled through my tummy. I realized that this was the first time I had experienced genuine excitement since Mom had died.
Maybe NBC should have pulled the camera away sooner, but I don't regret that the world got to see how much Bode Miller loved and missed his little brother. His show of grief likely will help other grieving brothers and sisters with sorrow much more raw than mine.
For me, any outside source or force asking me when I'll get better is going to be met with irritation. But if I do the asking, if I wonder -- myself -- what healing or recovery might look like, then it becomes a very different question.
Among all the lessons borne from losing my husband to cancer, the one I see clearest is this: The best way to memorialize a loved one is to choose life. When life feels hard, I tell myself to keep going. I tell my children the same thing.
Technological advancement is considered human advancement, but somewhere along the line, we have become sloppy about keeping up with the very things that make us human. How can anything compare to the words I say as I look into the eyes of someone important to me?
To be there with my mother at this sacred time of her life, was the greatest gift I have ever received. We -- her family -- were her ushers. Taking her hand and escorting her from this world to the next.