Honest, hope is a verb, notes on grief

My moment one.

Today while sitting in church, I went down a supreme tears rabbit hole. It is something that happens frequently when I allow myself to be still. And I’m not ashamed of my tears or my sadness or grief, it’s just that my modus operandi is to just keep moving forward and to save my moments of tears for when I’m alone and in my own space.

But grief really doesn’t care.

A favorite photo of my mom and I

Last week we talked about our word of the year for 2021. Mine was shift. And shift I did. I quit my job, shifted away from relationships, shifted I deemed important.

The big one, obviously, was quitting the job I had, had for over six years. I didn’t know why then I was pressed to quit- nothing major had happened, I didn’t leave on bad terms, I just had this feeling that I needed to make this change for myself. I needed to walk away from something incredibly stressful.

Five weeks later my mom died.

So, the reason for the shift I didn’t really know until that moment. I knew it was for me, for my mental health and stress levels, but I didn’t realize that the reason I need to walk in a period of stress relief was because the stress was going to hit incredibly hard in ways I hadn’t felt before.

That leads me to my word for this year. At the beginning of 2021, I read Hannah Brencher’s book “Fighting Forward” and there was a passage that hit me then and today it came back to me. In the book she is discussing her new years words and what that looks like and she quoted a scripture from Jeremiah and this phrase popped out to her, “The city will be rebuilt on her ruins”.

And I started to think about how heartbroken I am, my family, the people around my mother were when she passed. I started to think about how much it might feel as if the lives of those she left behind are in ruins because of her leaving this earth.

But then, I started to think about how ruins aren’t always a bad thing.

Ruins can be the start of something good, something new, something more beautiful than before. Ruins are apart of the restorative process. You just have to sift through all of it and find what is yours to keep.

All I want in this world is one more phone call, one more time for my mom to nag me about my eyebrows, to ask me if I’m warm enough. One more, “I love you my sweet girl”.

Instead I’m left sifting through the heartbreak and ruins to see what can become of them.

To see what parts of my mom I’m carrying to use to rebuild.

I always get a little nervous when it comes to finding my word of the year. That may sound silly but for someone such as myself who finds deep hope in words, it’s always something that truly ends up meaning something in my life.

As I sat with what it might mean to rebuild ruins I wrote out words, that popped into my brain and sifted through synonyms. Begin, embrark, start, innovate.

Until I wrote the word “create” and something settled inside.

It might seem silly for me, as a writer, to settle on the word create. But as someone who has been standing on ruins for a long time, someone who has spent a great deal creating from a place of pulling myself up over the ruins, I believe it’s time for me to create something out of them.

I have so much hope in the word create.

I ended 2021 feeling like I was a bit out of hope. I stood on my porch after midnight holding a glass of champagne (barefoot in 20 degree weather) and it felt a bit like I was look out into an ocean- you know the vast feeling of looking out over the water at night not knowing what is sky and what is ocean. And it felt incredibly overwhelming.

But today, I wrote the word create and I felt something that felt light. Not new. But me.

I don’t know what ruins you’re building on from this past year. I don’t know what heartache or grief or anger you’re walking through.

I don’t know if you need to walk away and rebuild away from the ruins, or if like me you need to find the beauty in the ruins.

Whichever it is, I want to remind you that you’re already on the other side of something. You’ve made it to a shore (even if it’s a small island amid an ocean).

We can rebuild whatever we may need too.

This is my moment one.

Let’s see what happens.

with love,

Meg

Honest, ramblings

a letter to those who have no hope for the holidays

Dear friend, 

I want you to know I get you.I don’t understand or know your circumstances. I don’t know the deep places of your heartache.

But on a soul level; I get you. 

There are a lot of times in life that dealing with a gamut of heartache sucks.

Anxiety, grief, loss, singleness, depression, estrangement.

All of those are magnified during the holiday season.

Even just finding a template for a Christmas card was a glaring reminder of my relationship status. Every template featured a happy couple, a new home, a new baby, a diamond ring.

But, this isn’t a blog about that.

It’s just an example to you.

I get heartache.

On so many levels.

And I know that yours is oh so different. 

Your story, your heartache doesn’t match mine.

And mine doesn’t match yours.

But I guarantee that there are at least two people around the table with you who could say the same thing.

Who get you.

What I am trying to say is that you are not alone.

And I know that’s hard to read without rolling your eyes.

(It’s hard for me to write).

Because when you are physically alone it’s hard to remember. When you feel alone it’s hard to remember that. 

But it’s true. The beautiful thing about humanity is that even if it’s just the person in front of us at the grocery store, or the barista who makes are coffee- we are not alone. We all have stories and frown lines and spots on our pillow from tears.

We just have to fight the battle to remember that.

I have to fight the battle to remember that.

So, here’s the deal: I want to challenge you.

I want to challenge you to find a new way to infuse joy into your holidays. Make a new tradition, revamp an old one.

I want to challenge you to laugh. 

And be ok with laughing.

And lastly, I want to challenge you to be ok with crying. To not feel shame in telling a story around a fire.

To not feel shame in taking moments to yourself or sitting in the dark with just the Christmas tree on.

Because when there is a heartache so great that it comes to you in times of joy, I believe, for the most part, you can find joy on the other end of that heartache.

Don’t put yourself in a box of heartache this holiday season. 

You aren’t defined by that heartache. You aren’t ruled by it. It’s just one of the colors in your picture of life.

It’s not all that you are.

Even if it feels like it.

And if you ever feel alone, just remember me, in rainy, blustery Bellingham. I’m with you.

I’m for you.

This holiday season will be new. It may still have heartache but if you need some I am holding some hope for you (and cinnamon sugar almond bars).

With love,

Meghan