And When it All Falls Down?

Tools: time to stroll down memory lane, a few tissues, the will to keep going

Have you ever hit a place on your personal journey that stops you in your tracks? You were moving just fine, maybe hand a decent job, a home and a running car. And then something happens.

You fall ill.

The relationship fades.

Someone close to you dies.

And it all seems to crumble.

This was me for pretty much all of 2016. A crumbly mess of emotions challenged by one thing after the other. Death of the 85 year old family matriarch. My job dissolved. My dogs were kidnapped (really, right out of the yard). One family member was strangely ill and kept falling and we weren’t even at the halfway point yet. By August, I was over the year and dreaming about the holiday season so it would be appropriate to sit in dimly lit rooms and drink cocoa for hours on end. But, it wasn’t over yet.

At the end of August, my 40 year old brother, unexpectedly died of a heart attack. There was no way to prepare and certainly not much of a plan. And what compounds his death is that he was the cornerstone of our family, particularly of our siblings. He was the exact person to call in the event of crazy shit happening (like your way-too-young-to-die brother passing). There is no nice way to say it. This was the diarrhea icing on the poop cake that was 2016. And Prince died.

What do you do in times like this?

I phoned a friend. A lifeline. A co-conspirator or two. This can be hard at first. But through the beauty and the curse of social media, she already knew something was happening in the family and she decided to jump in.

In this case, jumping in meant helping direct the memorial service for my brother when the weight of it all was too much. Together, she, my sister and I made it through the tremendous hours of preparation, execution and cleanup of the service. It was hard. It was thankless and eventually, it was over..we made it through.

Even writing about this now makes me keenly aware of the true meaning of friendship. Those of you who are honorable people, there in the thick of things and supportive in the morning after the wreckage, we salute you.

This is a heavy post, but invite you to think about who you connect with when it all starts to fall down, give them a shout out now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

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