Tonight I saw some familiar faces. Faces I miss terribly. My friends from 6.
Unfortunately, I saw these friends because we were all at the funeral of another coworker. Someone who was taken from this Earth way too soon.
As I stood by the casket with two friends, the phrase, "I just can't believe it" was said over and over, in one way or another. Which lead us to talk about how no one is immune to tragic events. You can be in perfect health (my sister) and have life change in the blink of an eye, or you can struggle with illness, but work hard to keep yourself in the best health possible...and fall victim to tragedy.
Life is precious. Time is precious. You just can't take moments for granted because you just never know what may come.
My sister's incident happened about a year and a half ago, and I am just now beginning to realize why I can't move forward. It's because I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Her incident caught me completely off guard, so now I am constantly ON guard, just ready for things to go terribly wrong.
I used to think I handled stress and sadness well. I was strong. I didn't need anyone to help me get through tough times. I could do it all by myself. Leslie's incident proved just how wrong I was.
I think the lesson I am beginning to finally learn...and today helped me realize it even more...that if you are constantly anticipating the bad, you will miss all of the good. And there is SO much good, you just have to be open to seeing it. I have grown very, very successful at finding the bad in every. single. situation. In fact, I often say "one step forward, two steps back...story of my life!"
Belinda had a beautiful life. She had coworkers that loved her, and she equally loved them. She had wonderful children that she adored, and you absolutely cannot forget her brand new twin grand daughters. I have never seen someone's face light up the way Belinda's face did when she talked about those sweet babies. It's tragic she won't get to seem them grow into women, but it's wonderful that she got to experience the excitement that I can only imagine comes with learning that twins are on the way. There were pictures everywhere from various points in her life, and you can just feel the happiness in them. Looking around the funeral home, the amount of love that was felt was overwhelming. Yes, there was sadness. And I'm sure a lot of people wondering, "Why her? Why so soon?" ...and those questions will never be answered, unfortunately. But if we dwell on those types of questions, that means we are turning away from all the amazing parts of who she was (and is!).
Now I am the LAST person to tell someone how to feel after tragedy. Let me make that perfectly clear. I have hit the lowest of lows throughout this past year, and I have learned that being happy is a choice...sometimes a VERY HARD choice, but a choice, nonetheless.
I know my hard times are not over. They will never be over, because the life I WANT will never be the life I will have. However, I can choose to be happy with the things I do have, and the things that have gone right. It takes effort. A lot of effort. But that is where the belief I used to have...the one about being strong...comes into play. I choose to be happy. I choose to be strong. And I refuse to let sadness and tragedies consume all of the amazing, wonderful, beautiful parts of my life.
Rest peacefully, Belinda. You will be forever missed. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for being so pro-active for "your" nurses. Thank you for organizing all those potlucks, and thank you for doting on my children when I'd bring them to the floor as if they were your grandchildren. Thank you for the time I was sick at work, but there was no one to cover my shift, so you made sure I had ginger ale by me at all times, and you kept checking to make sure I was okay. Thank you, God, for giving me all these memories of her. Your heart was your greatest gift, because the boundaries were endless.
I choose to be happy.