I am not quite sure how to open this post, but I suppose saying so is one way to open it. My absence here (and elsewhere) over the last week is because I have been in a bubble of sadness. One I just had to allow myself to step into fully for a bit. I found out a little over a week ago now that someone I loved very, very dearly passed away from an overdose. Unfortunately, I have had to say goodbye to many people I loved deeply in recent years. Some of them have been really difficult for me because it seemed they went before their time. Other's were easier because I knew they lived such a long and full life, or one could reason that death released them from pain. This one has been one of the most difficult.
Posts of this nature are always a bit awkward for me. There is an abrupt change in direction, tone, and subject. But that is also true to life. Sometimes there isn't a bridge or a smooth transition from one thing to the next. There is also always the question of what to share and what not to share on a blog. Stories that don't feel entirely like mine to share I generally try to omit or keep to a minimum. But I also feel like this blog is a true reflection of me - of who I am today and who I am today is compiled of all of my days and experiences. And, well, these things are apart of our lives too - the not so pretty things. Realities. Like death and drug addiction and sadness and grief and heartache and struggles that come in various forms for various reasons. And beyond all of that it simply feels wrong to move on to posting about houses, or products, or pictures of falling leaves and pumpkins without pausing for a moment to honor someone I loved so much. Without making a space here as well, where I invest so much time and energy, where I have built friendships and a community I hold dear, to take a moment to say - this person was apart of me too and the world around me has felt a bit more dim knowing she is no longer in it.
My cousin, who was much more like a niece to me, passed away on her 23rd birthday. She is the only baby I have seen come into the world. Even with my own babies my eyes were always squeezed tight in that final moment. I was only 15 years old, with no idea of what I was getting into by seeing a birth, and truly there were moments where I was thinking maybe I should wait in the hall. But the moment she was born was the first time I feel in love. It was on a crisp October morning, the world seemed to hush and stand still for her arrival. She was pink and perfect - she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. For years from that moment on she and I were joined at the hip. I loved that girl beyond measure. She had huge deep brown eyes, she tucked her chin into her neck when she laughed and, that laugh, it came straight from her belly. It wasn't just a sound, but a feeling of warmth and joy and it made the air around you feel more alive. She had soft brown skin and chestnut hair, she was quick with a hug and an 'i love you.' She was kind and funny and snuggly. Beautiful inside and out. It's difficult lose someone you love. And this was true for her as well after losing her mother at 15 years old. It has been so difficult knowing I was there on the day she came into this world and somehow she escaped as quietly as she came into it on the very same day. And so far before her time. Or so it seems.
It is at these times that I think of the saying without darkness one cannot know light. Living through loss and grief, or any struggles at all, if nothing else can be a wonderful reminder of what is important in life. And through the sharpness of grief the beauty of the world also emerges in a sharper focus as well to find gratitude for what we have - the moments of wonder, all the simple joys, the love we feel for and by others, and all the beauty that fill our worlds.