I remember when my great-grandmother took a turn for the worst during her 100th year of life. It would be several weeks later, but it was apparent that Grammie was in her last days.
Grammie was an amazing woman and had a huge impact in my life. At 18 years old, months shy of graduating high school, I was incapable of dealing with the idea of Grammie not being present in my life. The pain was too much to bear. So I didn’t deal. During the visits in her last weeks, I said my requisite hellos and goodbyes, and that’s about it. I couldn't stand to be in her room, to see the shadow of the woman she once was. It didn’t matter that my younger sister, Alli, never left her side or that my mom warned me I might regret the little time I spent with her. I just couldn’t deal with it.
And Mom was right. its one of my biggest regrets to date.
Memory after memory has been swimming to surface this weekend, those moments when my heart had broken in two, when it felt like I’d rather have not loved at all, than feel the pain.
- The moment when they laid Devyn in my arms after 12 hours of labor and knowing that I’d never be the same again. That every fear and doubt I’d had while I was pregnant with her paled in comparison to the all consuming love of having her here in the flesh. That around every corner was a new danger, a new fear, a new obsession to keep her safe at any cost, and the knowledge that any control was an illusion.
- We had just brought Hudson home from the hospital, he was days old when tragedy struck some mutual friends of ours. They’d taken their children with them to their ranch, when the dad climbed into the cab of his truck and put it into reverse to unload the hay. Each parent thought the other had their 2-year-old son and nothing could have prevented the ensuing horror. The funeral was devastating. From the tiniest coffin I’d ever seen, to the sounds of the father wailing heard all the way to the back of the church.
I have many situations in my life right now where I’m faced with a choice. Do I stay to love and risk the pain of being hurt? Or do I run and avoid the pain, but also miss out on some amazing moments? I’m a walking, bruised nerve at the moment. Life just hurts, the pain ebbs and flows. It’d be so easy to walk away, wave a hand, and say, I’m good. I don’t need this right now.
But then I think of the potential I’d be missing out on too. The potential of a full life, overflowing with family and friends. Of memories. Of moments with side-splitting laughs, of deep conversations, of silly smiles and antics. Moments of sitting there and holding a hand, of sharing burdens, of easing the load, even if its for just a moment. Missing out on that moment when you stop and take it all in, the good and the bad of it, because you know, this is a moment, a memory that will mark you.
We were never promised easy. This life is anything but easy. Breakups, friends moving or changing, divorces, tragedies, death, diseases, changed hearts and minds, unexpected circumstances. And loving leaves you vulnerable to all of it. If you’re doing love right, its gonna hurt. But I promise. The good always seems to outweigh the pain. It’s a promise I’m holding onto with two clenched fists, because it’s the only way I’m going to survive the weeks and months ahead.