Have You Forgotten You Won the Lottery?
We have all won the lottery, but we seem to be preoccupied over who won more, instead of graciously hitting our knees with gratitude we are bitching that we didn’t get enough. I knew very soon after the accident that I did not want people to give me sympathy, to feel sorry for me, or to pity me. Please, even in this moment I have a life most of the world is dying for, and so do you. Yes I am right now in the middle of a crazy experience in my life. But please realize that it is a gift that this is so fucked up for us. A friend of mine said to me, it feels so hard because our society doesn't know how to deal with tragedy like this, cause we don’t often experience it. He was saying it like poor us. I thought, yes, how special is it that we get to live a life where the loss of a loved one far too soon is shocking, unbelievable, and not commonly experienced.That this experience, for most of us will be something we will never go through again. That our community stopped, noticed, reflected, and showed up by the hundreds to pay respects, because this stuff does not happen to us (and Rene was so rad).
I am far from the only one suffering, we all have a story. How precious that I get this much time and space to grieve. That I get to share about my process, that I am able to talk about it and work through it. How privileged am I that I got to be in love like I was, like I am. That I was able to choose the man I lived with and had complete freedom over my decision to marry him. Not a way of life given to all. I got to be with a man that knew my worth and I his. I was able to be apart of a relationship built on trust and love. I am grateful for all of that. I am in awe of this life I have been given, and all Rene is teaching me. This is a tragedy for me. This is painful for me and those that loved and were loved by Rene. But in the eyes of much of this world we are still living the dream. I have a cozy home, healing food, close friends, generous family, a job willing to take me back but not forcing me back, a loving community, and so much support. My needs taken care of, so I have space to grieve and heal, I have love all around me and I am safe. I can’t help but think how much of the world doesn’t have their basic needs met, and live in fear. Shortly after the accident I heard of the pictures of a Syrian boy who had drowned as his family fled in search of safety, and the depths of pain in the world hit me hard.
This is in no way to minimize how harsh our situations can feel. This is not a comparison, just an opportunity for perspective and gratitude. No matter what you are going through go through it, feel it all, be in it, but let's get real. We have all won the lottery and are living the dream. I am grieving the loss of one hell of a man. And everyday I am thankful I had him. I have him, I have these lessons, these memories, and his strength by my side. I got to love him. People are killing for this kind of freedom. Women are being bought and sold, and forced to marry. People are being taught hate as a way of life. I will not take my life for granted. I will not be swallowed by this. I mean no disrespect in saying this. Rene’s life so precious, his place in so many people's lives and hearts sacred. Still we are fortunate. Look for your place in a bigger picture. I ask you, are you stuck in a victim story that is creating a problem that is a actually a privilege? Are you complaining when your life is amazing? Could you see something differently?
Can we please stop acting like many of our luxuries are problems? Our jobs, taking care of our homes, our kids and partners needs. Just to name a few.
I feel him in my heart and hear his voice.’ What are you going to do about it?’ he would say to me, never letting me be complaisant. Rene was such a go-getter, a fighter. Rene never saw a problem, only possibility. He had no time for wallowing.
I had a massive change in the way I thought my life was going to go, and yet anything that is not working in my life is still all my doing. We are not guaranteed the future we are dreaming of, we get this moment. How far down this takes me is in my hands. This is not happening to me, it simply is. What I make of it, what I make it mean, is my story. My life is all my design, even now. Things happen that are beyond our control, but it is not happening to us. It is happening. What we make of it, that is all ours. Honestly there isn't time for a pity party over what we thought was supposed to happen. Course correct, change your plans. What you do with what is will dramatically impact your experience of this life.
We all have a story, no one of us has the monopoly on pain and suffering. The world no less in your favour than in mine. Arguably most of us reading this have been given a winning hand. How you play your cards, up to you.
Count every blessing.