I’ve been revisiting some of my writing over the past number of weeks. I find that it is helpful and grounding to return to your starting place. It can help you renew your motivation and purpose, explore if it still rings true for you, celebrate how much you’ve grown as a person, or just sit with your emotions for a little bit.
It’s been a helpful exercise for me. The months have flown by in this very busy year, and I can sometimes lose sight of the higher vision as I try to complete the day to day to-do list. Returning to my writing helps me work through my emotions. This time of year brings forth a plethora of feelings as I remember my son Stephen, and reflect on how I have lived in the years since his passing.
Below is an excerpt from my book, Just One Little Thing. I think it kind of sums it up.
Time passes in a way we must respect. The days are long but the years are short.
So we must live. Live out loud. Love as much as we can. Laugh every hour. And always know we go this way but once.
June 23rd-Sour Milk
Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.
This morning, my son and I were chatting in the kitchen. I was packing his lunch for hockey camp, and he was pouring himself a glass of milk to wash down his peanut butter toast. The conversation was animated, and he was laughing between bites. Suddenly, something caught his eye, and his mood changed in an instant.
He was looking at the milk and then quietly said,
“The milk……It expires on the same day Stephen died.”
His words caught in his throat, and made this mother stop in her tracks on a sunny morning. You see, we knew July 4th was coming. We’ve talked about it, as a family, and with our grief counselor. We’ve made a plan and we know what we will be doing on that day. But there was something about that darn milk announcing it.
Our family is only a jug of milk’s life span away from being without Stephen for a full year. There is something about that reality that hits us both as we stare at the skim milk in the glass, almost like the white liquid is the sand of time itself.
So, we talk about it, over milk and peanut butter. We both think Stephen would not want us to focus on the day we lost him, but rather look at all the days we had him. We know we will always think about July 4th differently, but we also know that it is our choice whether we make it a hard day or one of celebration.
Later in the day, my husband asks me, “Can you believe a year has passed already?”
No, I do not believe it has been a year, because in many ways, I feel that our time has stopped, or has been redefined as life “before” and “after.” I can’t believe that I am a jug of milk’s lifespan away from a full year.
And now, eleven months later, I’m watching the milk in the fridge, as the fat free liquid counts down the last days of the toughest but most awake year of my life.
We are not as fortunate as the milk. The bottom of your foot does not bear an expiration date.
None of us knows when it will be our time to go. Unlike the milk, the future is not as certain for us. It could come after many years of living, or it could come tomorrow as we mow the lawn.
That is why we must live each moment like it was our last.
Today, I am thankful for sour milk. Making it real for me.