Today marks the 6th anniversary of my little sister’s suicide.
If you’ve been following my annual memorials since Paige’s death,
You’d see a pattern.
First, it was about me.
And I think this year,
It’ll be a synthesis of all of those.
And probably the most controversial or seemingly absurd tribute to date,
I’d like to say this year,
Maybe you can learn to love tragedy.
Maybe loss isn’t so much a death
As a birth
Maybe the burning down of your existence is actually a gift.
If you stick with it,
It will cut you open
And everything you were meant to be will spill out.
They say that when the going gets tough,
The tough get going
And many people have remarked about my strength over the years.
But I don’t have anything you don’t.
I choose to tell a story where I needed strength.
And so I found it.
It seems like we’re all our own narrators.
We write our own stories.
I heard a call that maybe there was more than I currently knew.
And so I followed it.
And I wrote that story.
It wasn’t going to be about death.
I wanted it to be about life. About living.
So maybe this year, this message is a push for you to listen to that voice within you.
The one that aches.
The one that whispers, hey, maybe there’s more to this.
Maybe it isn’t all in vain.
Or if you’re still within the throes of tragedy,
this might shine as a light in the distance that says, ‘keep going’
the pain isn’t forever.
And it really doesn’t have to be.
i dont think so anyhow.
If you give yourself to what’s in front of you,
To the pain,
You can use it to find that “more.”
Or you can keep it as pain.
It’s up to you.
It’s your story.
Anyhow, this is all to say, maybe there is more to death than sadness.
Maybe what’s in death and loss, is actually life and growth
Paigie’s death was a run in with mortality that made me realize the inevitably of my own death.
We often forget that we’re all dying.
Eventually, when the time was right, my thoughts transformed from “f it, I’m gonna die’ to “f it, I’m gonna live.”
And not from a survival stance,
But from an experience of living stand point.
If death is the only ultimate and you can’t escape it, then what do you really have to lose?
And so I began to look for what actually could be lost, which turned out to be my life and living it, and what I’d do with it while I was here.
6 years later it’s come to my attention that what I was looking for all along was right here.
Everything that spirituality, philosophy, science and art pointed to,
coalesced into a bright understanding.
Life is for living,
Opening up and surrendering to what is right here and now
And giving it every ounce of you.
And while I wonder what took me so long to figure it out and feel it, I also don’t.
That’s the story.
I think it’s a lot like in national lampoon’s Christmas vacation,
There’s clark tediously adorning his house with every strand of Christmas lights known to man because he has this idea, this pull, this creative urge,
And then he goes to turn it on,
And for the sake of the story,
His big vision.
His call to action,
And yet he doesn’t quit.
He keeps trying.
Sometimes the lights go on,
But he has no idea how.
Nobody else can see them.
everyone thinks he’s crazy and he should just forget it.
And then finally, his heart, vision, work on the line,
He tries again
and with the help of a loving, unexpected hand from the outside,
And everything and everyone is flooded by light that wasn’t there before.
Everything and everyone is changed.
so while the experience of living may feel painful or seem somewhat unnecessary and arbitrary,
Maybe it isn’t.
Maybe if you stick with what you envision, what calls to you
And you commit to doing the work even when you can’t find the switch,
Maybe, right when you least expect it,
The lights will turn on.
And it will be more than you ever imagined it could be.
Answering this question has been the focus of wwayy too many of my waking hours. And probably all of the ones I’ve slept.
As a curious kitten, I’ve studied it wearing many different cat hats.
I have several pale gray, ethereal ones with ‘Philosophical’ delicately scrolled across the brims. These are niceties and practically useless.
There is a growing pile of bad azz ones with lights and transformer-style tricks emblazoned with ever-evolving fonts spelling out ‘Scientific.’ The quantum physics and cellular biology ones are my current fav’s — though I’m still learning how to use ‘em.
Stacks and stacks of woven golden ones cover my shelves without words. These are the spirituality caps. They are nearly indistinguishable in function, but they all fit a little differently. When sitting under their protective shade, there are no answers, only quiet. It’s kind of nice.
Hung lovingly and worn on doorknobs throughout the house in bunny-numbers are stretchy, silver-infused hats, some with feathers, others with sharp edges, all strikingly marked ‘Artistic.’ These seem to be the most useful, although environmentally and mood-dependent.
But if you put one of each kind on at the same time (I often do stuff like that), something magical happens. The most beautifully complex symphony disguised as a graceful, simple melody beats down on your soul like afternoon sunshine.
And for one moment, you get it.
The ‘big picture’ swells until it whites out reality around you.
That the ups and downs aren’t happening TO you, they are happening FOR you.
You are safe.
And there is nothing to fix.
And nowhere to go.
Then, with the untimely, abruptness only a sibling can yield, there is a pound on the door and paradise falls away into the rumblings of the metro ride home.
You know now.
There is more.
And this life?
It’s all gravy, baby.