three sixty six. because you have to keep breathing, living, moving in loss. loss is not always death but in certain ways the mourning feels just like it is. in days of loss the days hurt.
calendar land mines as shauna niequist says. and yes, so freaking true. it’s in those days that we dread reliving what one year ago meant. what emotions, disappointments, heartbreak came with that day on the calendar. the break up, the death, the divorce, the friend lost, the baby you never met slipping into heaven, the accident, the last breath, the surgery. the door that closed.
but then there is 366. not just the year survived but the new next morning. the day you realize you’ve done it. you managed to navigate one messy, beautiful, whole new year. :::
i was sending a gift to a friend that recently lost her mom. all of us are too young to lose our mom no matter our age. they are supposed to just always be there right? i know, i know. it’s our sobering cycle of life. you understand my point. her heart is broken. no thing, no words, no amount of red wine is erasing anything she feels. i sent her a gift box with some pretty things. it’s the locally crafted teas and bath soaks you’d never buy yourself but totally love when you get them. it was that. a box of that. oh and one fresh plant and one fresh lemon. the scent of citrus always feels new and slightly life giving me to me. nothing is enough but pretty mail sure feels fun for at least a moment. when it came time to write the card, i sat still. there was no words until truth ::: i simply said
there are no words only love. warm sips and detoxing soaks. things to end and start a day and for now that’s all you have to do. i love you the most.
grieving. what a horrible thing. it’s so much. it’s heavy and it’s unfair and it’s a hole you are sure will be the end of you or swallow you whole. here is the thing sweet friend, listen closely. as a worrier, a mentally forward, think of what can happen before it does, not so present minded (( but always trying)) person, grieving is the only thing that dominates my world into a chapter of just right now. just the next breath. just the next minute. it’s powerful. not always beautiful but it’s powerful. it’s a total reset. it’s not up to you. it’s about survival. when i wrote that in a card to my sweet friend i suddenly realized start and end a day. that’s step one.
the days go back to scratch. we build them with one small, adulting thing at a time. we add an errand. i know it’s scary. you wish everyone knew so they could just be extra sweet. you wish all the world would knew “not today”. how brave it was just to put in a ponytail or put on a bra. but i promise you grace finds you out there. God runs tight d. people hold a door. they look you in the eye and smile. that’s God’s tight d. that’s the thing about loss, you suddenly see the tenderness. you soak in kindness. even the smallest bit. it isn’t lost on you anymore.
and suddenly, before you know it, you are back into it. life. you remember things that you love and breathe life into you. you appreciate those things differently. nothing fills the hole. nothing. that scar is something in your story to shape you, lead you. but the heaviness of one foot in front of the other gets a little lighter. it’s not overnight. but you’ll find those steps. and you cry when you need to. and that’s ok because that’s feeling. that’s healing. a tear at a time.
those days on the calendar are so dreadful. bc you remember everything of that day. no one else would remember that day. for others it’s a tuesday. for you it’s a time machine. for me it was january 17. the day i lost our sweet angel baby at 12 weeks pregnant. but then, my sweet friend, there was january 18. 366. i had made it to the calendar land mine, i had lived it. and lived through it. and honestly relived that day’s timeline about a thousand times. i made it to 366. and you will too. i promise.
for now, start and end your day. be grateful your story continues, another birthday candle is presented in front of you. appreciate the grieving gifted reset. loss of all kinds have a very chaotic and beautiful way of keeping us in a now. it may not be your coziest now but it certainly brings you back to basics.
you don’t have to be certain about how you feel. and how you feel doesn’t have to be consistent. i say to “feel it all, all the way”. God is doing giant work in you. through you. your storyline has shifted. and so will you. new people will enter. new songs, freshly written will be your favorites. new food youve never tried before will become your new date night. even if that’s just date night with yourself. you’ll love on the kind hearts harder than before. you’ll sort through the true colors periods of loss show brightly. you’ll simplify. survival does that. you don’t forget. it’s not ever about forgetting. it’s about knowing stories turn. you collect the parts of broken loss that can help you build and you slowly place them somewhere safe. and suddenly your own january 18 will come. you’ll be on the other side of the first year, of a day you dreaded and resurrected a thousand times. you’ll arrive at your 366.
i am lifting you always.