Come January I will approach the six year anniversary of J.R.s death. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. I am not particularly dreading it, just turning it around in my mind, and realizing that it has been the pivotal moment of my life. I have always said that losing J.R. at 41 is the great tragedy of my life. The world is so much poorer without him. I still think of him every day. I still miss him tremendously and suspect I always will. I married my best friend and he was such a character. I wish I could tap into his acute intelligence, listen to his sardonic wit, yell at him for his coffee cup experiments. I wish he had had a longer life. Yet he accomplished so much within his short span of years that I feel that his life was full. I will never regret knowing him, loving him and marrying him. And yet.... I am happy with my life now and extremely proud of the person that I have become without him.
You see my great tragedy was my trial be fire. I think it has turned me into a more compassionate, giving, heartfelt person. I always wanted to be perfect and judged worthy before his death. I didn't want to appear weak or in need. All of that went out the window with his death. I realized that I was broken, weak and shattered into a million pieces. And I also realized that I still had worth and power to do good as that broken and shattered person. I realized that I was still capable of joy and love, that I could laugh through my tears. I tried to incorporate the best of my husband into me. I don't know if I was successful, but I do know the attempt made me into a more mindful human being. I now try to treasure each moment that I have on this earth as I realize, truly realize now, how brief and precious our time is. I no longer judge myself on the accolades of others, instead I look for that feeling that I have done something that enriches the world. I am not talking about world peace here, I am talking about making sure the birds are fed, that my mother truly gets quality time with me, that I listen to my five year old neighbor describe photosynthesis to me. It means really enjoying the dogs enjoying their walk. To me it means making sure to take joy in the mundane day to day tasks of our lives. How good the sheets really smell if they are hung on the line to dry, that first bite of a perfectly crisp apple.
We spend our time measuring, one year, six months, two years, twenty years. It is human nature and I know that I have been all to guilty of it. In the end though, the amount of time is meaningless, it is what you have done with that time, how you have appreciated the life you have been given that truly matters. That is the lesson learned from my great tragedy. Although I treasure my memories, and wish I could make more of them with my J.R., I am determined to live my present to the utmost of my capability. Not just for him, but for me. Because as broken and battered as I am, as imperfect as I can be, I still have purpose and value and deserve the pursuit of happiness. As do we all.