“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” (Edgar Allan Poe)
Two years ago today, July 13, 2009, I thought my world had ended.
As I drove from Colorado to begin a new life in Utah (crying as discreetly as possible so my children wouldn’t realize tears were uncontrollably rolling down my cheeks), I could not comprehend ever healing or feeling whole again. I anticipated that date, July 13, would be burned in my memory forever and would always haunt me, as a day of personal infamy, never to be forgotten.
Cut to 2011.
A few days ago I realized (only because my middle child reminded me) that July 13 was approaching. I marveled at the healing that has taken place in just two years. I can’t believe all that has transpired in my life and in the lives of my children since 2009. We’re living a completely different, yet still unexpected, life. And honestly, this isn’t a painful date any more.
But I decided I needed to at least attempt to give it the respect I had once thought it deserved, to remember it and to mark the occasion by doing SOMETHING, so I made a plan to dispose of the dead hanging basket of flowers previously mentioned today—July 13.
This morning I got up, went to work, had a lunch meeting, worked all day, came home, did some work from home, enjoyed my children, made dinner, ate dinner with my family, sent #5 off to rehearsal for Sundance Resort’s summer theater production of “The Sound of Music,” and on my way back into the house happened to notice the basket of dead flowers hanging on the front porch. It brought me to a screeching halt. July 13!
Today was once THE day! I was supposed to have remembered it, wasn’t I? I had a plan to carry out! And here it was, almost 6 p.m., before I even remembered today. Just two years from the day I thought my world had ended, and already, I have completely forgotten July 13!
But never let it be said I don’t follow through with my plans. I asked my oldest son to throw the basket in the outside trashcan, he grabbed it and went to toss it out, and I turned around and went back into the house without a second glance or another thought.
How did it happen? How is it possible to have suffered such tremendous loss, to have endured such devastation and grief, only to forget such a landmark date just two years later?
I think it’s one bonus of not just living the unexpected life, but choosing to embrace your unexpected life.
Accept what you’ve been dealt. Take stock of what you’re left with. Use it to rebuild. Count your blessings. Laugh. Choose to find happiness and joy in your new realm. And guess what? You will. Each and every time. If it happened to me, it can happen to you. I know it. And then at some point, you realize the pain is gone. If you hang on long enough, choose to let go of it and focus on your new blessings, at some point, the pain is gone.
“My focus is to forget the pain of life. Forget the pain, mock the pain, reduce it. And laugh.” (Jim Carrey)
Even on July 13.