Life is filled with “firsts”. First laughs, first steps, first time driving, first kisses. So many momentous occasions that we often look back on with smiles and warm feelings. I remember clearly the day Kirstie was born 26 years ago – my first day as a mom – as the feelings were so fantastic and amazing. I am sure you have a list of “firsts” as well and understand what I am describing.
But there are other kinds of firsts, too. Your first speeding ticket. Your first broken bone. The first death in the family. Your first heartbreak. These events aren’t as sought after and do not bring the cozy feelings we often like to sit through as if a great movie has shown up on the TV. No, these sort of memories are the ones that definitely impact our lives, but we don’t embrace them when they come to mind.
2016 presented itself with a few firsts I’d rather have avoided – I was attacked for being gay for the first time this year. That truly sucked and changed a lot about me, though I am working through that. What really hit me harder than I expected, though, was going through my birthday, Christmas, and the New Year for the first time with my mom not being on this earth. I have not lived in the same state as my mom since December 2009, so it’s not like I had recently SPENT those events with her. Even so, not being able to call her or hear her voice……to hear her say, “when am I going to see you again?” (as she always asked that), and to tell her I love her hit me pretty hard. And, for some reason the pain and the loss I felt surprised me. And that was a first of sorts as well. Perhaps it was exacerbated by the fact my older kids were not with me for Christmas this year for the first time as well, which magnified my sense of loss. But it was hard, across the board.
I am not sharing this to complain or fish for “poor Gina” comments. I guess I wanted to share that sometimes life is hard……even when we think we have things under control. And, well, it’s okay that it gets hard. It’s okay that we sometimes feel punched in the gut and we had no idea to even prepare for it, and it is no measurement of our strength (or lack thereof) when this happens. There is no deficiency in our faith or belief in heaven when we miss those that are no longer near us. And finally, that sense of loss and pain is not permanent, even in the case of my mom. I was able to see my older kids the week after Christmas, and I am surrounded by my mom’s paintings and tons of memories. I was also in California recently and spent some time with my brother David, and he gave me one of my mom’s favorite rings that he found as well as the Bible that Edgar and I had given her on her 52nd birthday. THAT surprised me, given that I am almost that age myself! Ha. So, really, this post is to acknowledge that we have highs and lows…….to acknowledge and feel both…….but to step up and move to the next segment. I didn’t say that well, but hope you get the drift.
Happy New Year, and may 2017 be filled with more highs than lows, but know you are loved through them all!