04.16.21

Posted on: April 16th, 2021 by jmbroekman 2 Comments
16 hearts
side view of 16 hearts
head one view of 16 hearts

On why I hate this day.

If I were to play favorites with the days on a calendar, this one would be at the bottom of my list. It wins the prize for being the one day I’d like to wipe off the calendar altogether. Grief does that. It binds meaning to arbitrary dates during the year. This is the day, 16 years ago that my sister died. I will never stop missing her. Though the edges have become a little less sharp, the hole she left is as big as it ever was.

Destiny.

I think a lot about how the trajectory of a life can change in an instant. The war changed the direction of both of my parent’s lives. The path of each of my nieces’ lives changed fairly dramatically when their mother died. I wonder if who we become is inevitably and profoundly altered by the events we run up against. Probably.

But what if we are each planted on this earth with a specific destiny, and these events that change the route of our lives are in fact a course correction? Maybe we really are exactly where and who we are supposed to be at any given moment in our lives. These thoughts bring to my mind the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence shows George Bailey all the ways that the events in his life shaped the person he is, and how vital he is to his community – how much may have been altered had he not put one foot in front of the other all those years and against all those setbacks to his dreams. Maybe there are specific lessons I was put on this planet to learn, and grief is just one part of my education.

Running a marathon

Months ago I read an article by Alex Hutchinson about how COVID-19 was like running a marathon. He wrote: “It turns out that, if you ask yourself “Can I keep going?” rather than “Can I make it to the finish?” you’re far more likely to answer in the affirmative.” This may be good advice in general: keep going, put one foot in front of the other, and eventually you will get wherever it is you are headed.

Whether grief is a marathon or a sprint, it will probably always suck. But as the young people will tell you: it is what it is. And while I would still like to erase this date from the calendar, for all that it reminds me, it is after all just another day on a rock hurtling through space.

The images included with this post are from a book I made this week for my sister. It includes 16 hearts – one for each year of her absence

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2 Responses

  1. Debbie says:

    Jessyca,
    Despite reading how rough yesterday was, I love reading your words. They’re honest, clear, and vital. I love the line, “just another day on a rock hurtling through space”. Did you coin that yourself?
    Sending you a warm hug,

    deb

    • jmbroekman says:

      Thanks, Deb. I didn’t come up with the “rock hurtling through space” – I think I first heard it from a friend several years ago and it stuck like glue in my head – it’s such a good reminder of where we are.