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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The First Anniversary

The First Anniversary


As you approach the first anniversary of losing the amazing man that shared your life, your love, your joys, and your sorrows; I have a vision I would like to share with you. I am imagining you wearing a heavily laden backpack. This pack is filled with the searing pain of separation, the desperate fear of the unknown, the intense longing for the touch of someone who loves you, the emerging hope you have for the future, and a new love for today. You are surrounded by the beauty of the Arizona countryside, heading up the North side of the Grand Canyon. The landscape is breathtaking, sometimes the beauty of your surroundings causes tears to run down your cheeks—other times it makes you draw in your breath in wonder.

As you begin to ascend the canyon, you are feeling your legs—aware of the strain the climb creates. Your muscles feel weak at first, but as you continue ascending you realize there is strength in your legs you didn't know you had. Each step forward requires effort. The grade of the climb changes often, once in a while the steep angle makes you lose your footing and fall back. Yet, even with the backward steps you move forward, pressed on by the thought that you are capable.

Following the winding path up the trail, you realize that the journey to the bottom of the canyon was fraught with pain and fear. There were days you felt you were free-falling and other days when you sat on a ledge unable to move either forward or back. No markers indicated where the bottom of the canyon was, so the descent felt as if it would last forever. Then, without warning, you found yourself standing on the banks of the majestic Colorado River. You are out of breath and a bit dizzy, but miraculously still in one piece. Trying to get your bearings you are shocked to discover that the descent is over. Calm surrounds you as you become aware that you have survived. You no longer need to wonder if you can live through the treacherous freefall of loss, suddenly you know that your goal is to climb out of the gorge you dropped into—one step at a time.

With each passing moment the strength in your muscles gives you confidence. The weight of your pack seems to change as you climb. Perhaps you have grown accustomed to the added load, but whatever the reason, you feel able to bear the weight. Climbing all the way up the opposite side of the Grand Canyon suddenly seems possible. Though you have a distance to go and your destination is not in plain view, you know it is there—not by sight, but by instinct. You can envision the outer edge of the canyon, and you have no fear of disappointment. Your journey will be whatever it is meant to be, and you are at peace. You have learned the lesson of the descent--you only have today. Today is what you live for, tomorrow is what you hope for, and yesterday is where your heart learned it's most poignant lessons.

Onward friend.

This was written by Michele Neff Hernandez for Michelle Dippel when Michelle was approaching the first anniversary of her husband's death. Thanks to Michele for forwarding this piece to me recently - it is so inspiring and comforting.

7 comments:

  1. Beautiful words.
    Thinking of you today.
    J xxxx

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  2. Thank you for sharing this powerful metaphor of life after losing the love of your life. It is so very true. I have my candle lit and I'm thinking of you and Cliff. I'm so grateful for the inspiration you send my way! Take care my friend,
    Love Debbie

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  3. J - thank you. I seem to feel alright, strangely. Or perhaps I am over-tired, having stayed up to light a candle at 03h00 - it is good to see your name here xxx

    Deb - thanks for looking in again, I am heading to bed now xx

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  4. Very fitting and helpful words. Hoping your walk goes well and that you are looking out for yourself as much as possible.

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  5. Boo...I have been thinking about you all day. I know that Cliff is proud of you, he loves you eternally, and he wants all the best for you in the time you have left here on earth. You have a lot to offer Boo, and we are fortunate that you allow so many to share your journey.

    Onward friend.

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  6. Michele thanks for keeping me safe in your thoughts, and for caring. I have to tell you that I thought of you often yesterday, almost as though you were cheering me onwards, following your lead - you have been such an awe-inspiring role model and mentor for me, thank you x

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  7. WITM, thanks for checking in on me xxx

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