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Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Letting Go vs. Saying Goodbye

There is something fundamentally shattering that happens to a person's soul and psyche when tragedy strikes; and yes, we all define tragedy differently.  Universally the underlying feelings are grief, sadness, anger.

This week my 49 year old Aunt Dianne passed away.  She was my mother's baby sister and one of the lights in our family.  The cadence of her voice, her spot-on wit and humor, and her infectious smile made all those near her grin because you couldn't help but to chuckle.  For me, I'll miss her random calls that went something like this:
"Hey Angela... it's your Aunt Dee.  What up kid?  I was just thinking about you and how beautiful you are... how special you are.  I really admire you niece.  Gimme a call sometime or come see me.  Love ya kid."
 Now, there are very few people in my life who can get away with calling me "kid" without a retort of some kind from me.  But she was the exception.  And true to form, she was the exception to most rules in life.  She absolutely positively did whatever she wanted, however she wanted and to hell with anyone or anything that disagreed with her.  She was in charge of her life.  Chips fall where they may...  I guess that's why we all somehow believed she'd beat cancer.  Despite being in the hospital and on more drugs than the hospital had EVER given to any patient in her condition (without them being comatose), she danced to the "HAPPY" song by Pharrell Williams in her bed and put on makeup the night before she passed.  She was still directing us all.  The hospital staff all told us that there was no way she'd survive but silently we ALL believed she could do it.  Even her nurses thought "maybe???"

It wasn't meant to be.

Her funeral is tomorrow and all week long as we've looked through old photo albums, cracking up laughing one minute only to sob out loud the next, we're reminded of the fragility of life... and to see how unfair it can be at times.  Life can be hard.  But to quote a line from one of my favorite movies, "the HARD is what makes it Great."

It is really true that the depth of love you have for someone will always equal your depth of grief upon losing them... and that too is what makes life worth living.  As much as we've all cried this week, the truth is that she's worth every tear.  She LIVED.  She LOVED.  And for a while, she was OURS... and now she's left us with a legacy of one-liners and half smiles, beautiful children and some of the best, most fun memories / experiences of my life.  For that and so much more, I am incredibly grateful to have had her as my family because she was honestly ONE OF A KIND.

And with that I realize today that there is a difference between "Letting Go and Saying Goodbye."  The world would have us believe it's one and the same but I'm here to tell you that this is in no way the case.  Aunt Dianne has left us for a far, far better place but we'll meet again I'm certain.  There's a freedom in release.  Something beautiful.  Something miraculous in letting go of a gift so precious to you that can bring simultaneous joy and sadness...

Goodbye is final.

Thankfully there are No More Goodbyes in heaven.  No More Goodbyes when LOVE is involved.  There is only the ache of loss that lingers; and that is all too human.

Aunt Dee, we are all struggling to Let you Go but none of us are saying goodbye.  Thank you again for showing us the way:  Dignity and Strength despite incredible pain and suffering.  Smiles and even a "happy dance" before leaving this party early making us all want more.

You are beloved.

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