This weekend one of my beautiful cousin’s got married. Weddings are not easy for me. It always helps when my parents are there so they can take care of Aaron. It isn’t the day itself. The bride in a beautiful dress. The groom waiting at the front of the alter. All those things are beautiful, sacred and warm my heart.
It is the commitment of “till death do us part” that gets me every time.
But as with the typical “firsts” within the first year after death, the “other firsts” get less difficult as well. “Other firsts” you ask? The first wedding, person to have a baby, person to announce a pregnancy, couple to get divorced, stranger to find out about your situation AFTER saying something awkward and last but not least the first serious illness/death.
I have been so excited as many of my cousins and friends have been getting married lately. What I did not expect is what I found out about my cousin’s husband at the wedding. It made this wedding take on a different meaning for me. A more personal meaning. You see, my cousin’s husband’s dad passed away a few years ago. I had met my cousin’s husband at my others cousin’s wedding a few months prior. When I look back, I now know why I could instantly feel calm around him. He understood.
Earlier I had seen his mom and hadn’t really connected the pieces but once I knew I instantly found her to be such an inspiration. And before we ate at the reception we got to hear the speeches. Best man…maid of honor and then my cousin’s husband spoke. He made a reference to his dad and that he was looking over the day. Tears filled my heart and then it hit me. I know I am not alone. No one is truthfully. And someday Aaron will stand up and give a speech at his wedding. If he talks and likes to speak as much as his mom and dad you can guarantee he will talk. He will most definitely pay some tribute to his dad. And if we are lucky, my cousin and her husband will be there on the day and I can thank him for helping me know I was going to be able to do this.
A beautiful bride and groom, a happy occasion to celebrate the most sacred vow and with yet another “first” down I can say without a doubt it was a beautiful wedding.
The other day I was talking to a friend about my recent job change. I felt I needed to explain why I made the change and while talking an interesting perspective about it was discovered. My previous job was a war zone. I am not in any form of the military so I was not literally in a war zone as we hear on the news every night. But thinking about the concept, it made sense.
Let me back up and say I loved my old place of employment. I loved the people and even the work. But it became a war zone I could not control. I fought every day to stay afloat by no fault of the company. It was a battle to walk through the doors. The doors I ran through to get to my car and drive to the ER on May 9th. So much about the job and the company was a battle because I wanted SO badly for things to go back to “normal.” The reality is there is no going back to the normal I wanted so badly. Some may say I owed it to the company to stay. Some say I should just “get over it.” Some may even say me leaving was a cop out. Your perception is your reality. My perception is I could not fight anymore. My reality is that I left on good terms and now I am no longer exhausted fighting a battle I could not win.
There have been a few stories in the media about people’s choices, which cause me to relate this concept even more. You see we all have our own “war zones.” Some are easier to fight. Some are hard as hell. Noting the definition of “easy” and “hard” is as unique to a person as their fingerprint. Ones strength is not and should not be compared to anyone. I hate the phrase “They should fight harder.” You can relate that to health, marriage, grief, parenting and I mean…name anything.
Why can we not understand that people are trying their hardest. They are fighting their own fight in their war zone in their own way. When they call us for support, we do as much as we can that they ask of us and hope for the best. We all have our own beliefs. I am not saying get rid of those. I am saying to be more understanding to people’s situations. They are not our decisions, situations or life changes. When someone continues to fight or when they wave the white flag, let’s embrace instead of criticize. Let’s be kind understanding everyone’s fight is different. Maybe then, we can make this a more positive world. We can help instead of harm. We can allow people to continue to fight or leave their war zone in peace.
I have been stuck from a blog perspective for over a week. I have been trying to find the words but every time I get on my laptop I freeze. That is until a few close friends helped me figure out what was going on.
Aaron turns 3 at the end of October. This gets to me because it is a happy celebration but there is a sad reminder because the man that should be here to help him celebrate is not here. From that feeling I go to how Aaron’s birthday is not about Jay, it is about Aaron. And as I fight the sad reminder I watch Aaron tonight and see such a loving, caring, smart little boy. I will celebrate our little boy. We will never forget his daddy. I will try to make things good. For Aaron.
Halloween is in October. What is this a big deal? Jay’s favorite holiday was Halloween. He loved haunted houses. He loved to sit on our front step together and hand out candy to the kids that stopped by. It is not one of my favorite holidays. And yet I find myself trying so hard to show Aaron the fun parts of the holiday. It is exhausting mentally to try and force it but I am trying. For Aaron.
I acknowledge these struggles and I find I am so frustrated with myself. I find myself saying “Alyssa…it’s been 2 1/2 years.” “It isn’t the first Halloween since his death…it shouldn’t be difficult.” Time does not heal wounds. It makes them less raw and fresh but they still hurt like hell. The firsts are heart breaking yes, but the ones after the adrenaline rush is gone are more difficult. In my humble opinion. I can sit and think I should be stronger, I should be wiser and then a friend of mine said to me the other night…”Alyssa…you recognize your struggles and you are tackling them the best way you know how. That is huge. That is a good thing.” I struggle. I acknowledge. I tackle. For Aaron.
That was yesterday. Today I was talking to another friend of mine and I was feeling down on myself. She is one of my strongest friends. Physically absolutely but also mentally. I was not feeling strong. I was feeling held down. 3 words changed it all. Let. it. go. After more conversation we determined it was negativity. I needed to let go of the negativity. From the world. From people. From thoughts. Not for me. Not for us. For Aaron.
It continues to amaze me what you can get out of a single conversation. I continue to figure it out. I continue to dig deep. I continue to talk. For Aaron.