Challenges in life are inevitable. How we handle those challenges is what determines our happiness.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
Life is HEAVY. We are STRONG.
I truly believe the universe only deals a hand to a person who can hold it. At the age of 24, I have already faced an extreme amount of trauma. More losses in my family than I can count on two hands, battling suicidal thoughts and dark depression from childhood through my early 20’s, the diagnosis of my brother’s leukemia. My strength must be powerful enough to live the life I have been given. With each challenge I survive, my bravery proves to be reliable. Courage is strengthened by use. Who I am is not lost, but more deeply defined. I am a free-spirit, I appreciate life for what it is and live each day like it’s my last.
After the recent loss of my brother I have been processing my coming to terms with the “bad things that keep happening”. As a teenager, I commonly acknowledged and complained about the doom that was unfairly pinned on me. I would dwell in that excuse rather than accept that part of life is overcoming those unfair storms. Living is all about balancing dark times with the light we must manage to find. When it rains, we must not close our eyes from the clouds. It is the rainbows after the storm that provide hope, courage, and balance. The universe reminds us that although we have darkness, it is our duty to pick up the light we are offered. Jeffrey was born into this world in a horrifying way that had my parents fearing loss from the very beginning. He was born without a heartbeat, but once he started breathing he was the most cherished gift to all he touched for the next 26 years. I choose to believe that Jeffrey was only supposed to live as long as he did. I hold each memory, every laugh, glare, hug, conversation and moment spent with him as a treasure. I admired his patience, his ability to listen and genuinely care. He had the biggest heart, always offering help when he could. He had a gentle manner about him that allowed his humor to shine bright and his calmness to ripple over others. To me, he was the most supportive big brother by blood, loyal friend by choice, and inspiring role model whose lessons will encourage me for the rest of my life. “It is what it is” doesn’t feel okay when talking about the death of my own brother, however I know with 100% confidence that Jeffrey would not want anyone to hurt from anything associated with his being. “It is what it is” is the truth. There is no bringing him back, there is no what if he were still here. There is only this new life my family and his friends must learn to adjust to.
There is hope for a happy life, even though it will be different than before. The survivors must not only survive, but reach to believe in life again. Grief has always inspired my curiosity. In college, I took a Death & Dying course that was my favorite class of my entire student career. I wonder about afterlife, but more importantly I search for guidance in ways to continue after the loss of a loved one. I encourage feeling emotions without judgement. Allowing our body and our mind to proceed with whatever feels natural. Fighting tears only floods our internal battle making it more difficult to stay afloat. Feeling guilty about not wanting to be sad is a waste of joyful moments. However you feel is valid. Allow yourself time, remind yourself your strength, give permission for sadness but find moments to smile. You can have moments of sadness while living a happy life. Remember to keep your windows open for when the light comes around.
Lindsay Greenberg, providing perspective on how to live a magical life.