As the storms of life loom over the country, a super-cell blows in to hang over our family. It feels as if these clouds have been here for a year, but it has barely been that long.
Yet, four precious lives are gone.
We are left standing in the cold wind, dripping with rain and wondering what the heck just happened.
The news never gets easier and, even though our loss is not related to the pandemic, it is just as tragic. We are separated by the miles and unable to have any closure, any real goodbye.
At least, not like I have been used to in years past.
Some prefer not to say goodbye in a cold funeral parlor, I understand that. I respect that. It's not a comfortable way for anyone to confront mortality. But for me, that last moment to pray and just be there...has usually been my way of ending that chapter with a loved one.
I may not have been as close to my husband's extended family. Some were on the other side of the country. But I feel for him and I share his sorrow. I wish I could be there to support all those who are grieving and lost, and I can't do that.
It is incredibly depressing.
Where will we be when we are called home?
At the store?
Regardless, there might not be time to stop everything and gather those we love most. There might not be a way to make any more memories.
We sit around now, scrolling through online games and mindless pictures as if we have time. We sit in a funeral parlor but for an hour or two realizing that we don't have as much time as we wish we did.
Know that I love all of you Aulenbachers. I never stop thinking of Billy, then Bernie, then Cousin Robert and now, Aunt Debbie. Four pieces that left four holes and now we have to carry on and make it work without them somehow.
You really only have today. Make five minutes for yourself. Make five minutes to really live each day. I'm not talking about just trying to make it through. Surviving is awesome, but I hope you reach for more. Work hard. Then, put it all down and be silly. Share a laugh. Send a light-hearted picture. Color with the kids. Force the phone out of your hand and meditate. Pick up a book.
Write a book.
Publish that book that's been in your heart...or drawer...
Whatever makes you feel most alive...
The storm won't linger forever.
In the midst of the storm, we have to carry on.
Those we are losing and those we have lost would want us to carry on.
If they were here, they would be telling us to GO and DO and TRY.
If they could come back, they would let us know how worth it the doing and the trying will be.
It's scary, I know. I feel the fear myself.
It is easier to hide in my phone late at night than to carve out some time to create and become my most authentic self.
But I can't let the storm win. I can't let it take over everything and keep me hidden in a digital cave forever.
I have to search for that which is most me to show the world that the storm it sends will not wash me away.
We miss you so much already, Aunt Debbie. Your laugh was the best. I'm glad we got to chat at Easter. I wish it hadn't been the last chat.
Tell Uncle Charlie that we miss him and celebrate your reunion.
And now...to carry on.