Its happened again. My life is moving along, busy and distracted, as I go from task to task. And I notice a feeling, one that seemingly has no reason. I interact with friends and move through my days as if everything is fine, but I’m sad. It sits on me like a light blanket; the kind that covers you and keeps you warm, but you sometimes forget is there. I’m covered in sadness.
Nothing has changed, so I’m baffled. Sure, we’re still facing the same financial challenges. I’m concerned about my parents as they age. My boys are doing well, but something is inevitably stressing me about what’s going on in their lives…is my younger son’s pain a normal ache or an injury? Is my older son going to make it through all his opera rehearsals? How will I juggle all of the busy schedules and still find time for my responsibilities? But it’s not any of that. So why am I so sad?
And then it dawns on me. Oh... It’s the end of November. It’s that time. And suddenly it all makes sense. November 30th, the day we lost our first daughter, Hope. Shoot.
There’s a brief moment of relief because now I understand where the sadness stems from. And then another brief moment of awe. I’m awed by the fact that, despite my mind not remembering, my body always does. Always. Maybe it’s the change in the air- the crispness that comes with a Southern California Fall. Or maybe it’s some deeper wisdom, stored in my body.
Grief and mourning come in waves. We hear that all of the time, but this year feels a little different. Last December marked the end of my cancer treatment and I’ve spent the past year processing the experience of breast cancer. And while it has certainly given me a greater appreciation for the life I’m blessed to live, Hope’s anniversary has me contemplating death. I’m reminded of how quickly things can change. I linger on thoughts about losing family members or what I’ll be leaving behind when I die. What is my legacy?
It’s a wonderful coincidence (or is it?) that the anniversary of Hope’s birth occurs during a time that we focus on gratitude. Working with gratitude moves me out of grief and mourning and into thoughts and feelings of learning and opportunity. After a good cry, I consider how far I’ve come since that day, eighteen years ago. So much of my growth as a woman, mother, wife, friend, daughter and sister has stemmed from the lessons my own daughter offered me in her brief time with us. And I’m grateful.
So this week I’ll be extra gentle with myself. I’ll reach out to others who are feeling challenged and offer myself in service, to listen and support them. I’ll share my love and appreciation for my parents, siblings, their families and my friends. I’ll offer gratitude for my husband and this amazing life we’ve co-created. I’ll hug my boys a little bit tighter, grateful to have the gift of their presence EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Without question, THEY are my legacy. And I’ll offer gratitude for the experience of this life, for however long I get to be here; a life filled with love.
And I’ll thank our Hope for the tremendous impact she has had on my life and for choosing me as her Mom.
In loving, Sarah