This post is directed at someone very specific: a wonderful, vibrant but grieving widow I met on an airplane. Gia, this is for you …….
Life is fleeting. We all know it on some level, but not in the same way as someone in the golden years of their life. When we’re young, our futures are full of promise and time, lots and lots of time. But as we grow older, time seems to speed up. Days go by faster, weeks and months, too. And suddenly, we look in a mirror and realize that there’s much less to look forward to than there are memories to fondly remember and revisit. That can be alarming … and depressing … to some but ironically a comfort to others. Such is the confusing paradigm shift of growing older. And then there are those we love so dearly whose time on this plane of existence unexpectedly ends before ours. How crushing it is to see our life companions exit before us. The people with whom we have shared our dreams and disappointments, our most intimate secrets and desires, leave us too early it seems. We believe they’ve gone to a better place and take comfort in that, but those of us left behind … those of us roiling in the throes of debilitating grief … we are unprepared to fly solo, our wings so unaccustomed to navigating the winds of fate alone. But we must. We must not only because our departed loved ones would want us to, but because we are meant to. That is why we are here. As cruel and illogical as life seems at times, there is a purpose to it that often escapes us. We are here to learn how to adapt, overcome, and inspire. We are each of us godlike creatures in training, capable of extraordinary love, creativity, and resilience. And just as steel must go through a tempering process to reach it’s potential, so must we.