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“O, grief hath changed me since you saw me last.” ~ William Shakespeare
I was late and it was intentional.
I was avoiding having to attend my second funeral in two months. I know the emotional heaviness that revisits me now since losing my parents back-to-back in 2018 and 2019, and then, a dear cousin (like a brother) in 2021. It seems that ever since, each loss encountered surfaces the unresolved grief that needs dealing with…its intensity seemingly unbearable at times.
Another funeral means revisiting what’s been lost—the laughter that was shared, the countless holidays and birthdays spent together, all the ways in which I can no longer expect to experience the spirit of these loved ones, now departed.
I didn’t want to have to revisit these feelings all over again, but of course, it never fails: what we seek to avoid always finds us.
And so, I found myself seated in the back of the church, allowing the heart to stay open while memories popped in to visit. Sitting there, the words I had penned about my dad’s funeral sat with me.
“Did you love well?” they whispered.
A grimace paints across my face. “Oh geez,” I thought. “Have I?”
Three years after dad’s death and questions surfaced to quiz me.
In what ways have I shifted my life?
Am I living the life that I wanted, one that is centered more in love than in fear?
Am I living from a place of my personal truths or am I still disconnected from all of me?
Do I engage and interact with everyone authentically or do I don the imposter’s clothing whenever I feel the discomfort?
The more the questions come, the more I see. And it’s not about levying judgment or criticism toward myself, but a gentle reminder to pause and revisit just how do I want to walk in this world, how I want to be in this life.
“Did you love well?”
It speaks volumes to me now.
I realize it’s not a question that I should be pondering upon my deathbed but rather should be more like my daily mantra in the morning and my closing prayer at night.
“Did you love well?”
Listening to its echo, it no longer sounds like a question about how I want to be remembered in death. Instead, it’s an affirmation—reminding me, asking me, “Just how do you want to live?”