Joy, Love, Loss and Gratitude

To be truthful, I am not even sure how to start this entry…but I have had this piece in my head and in my heart for a while so here goes, I will just let it flow, please forgive me if I ramble..

In the last six months I have experienced a vast range of emotions…joy, happiness, gratitude, heartbreak, sadness, fear, numbness, loss, wonder, stress, annoyance, understanding, connection…

This past September I turned 50 and married the love of my life in the same week…friends and family from far and wide came to share in our special week ( I could say our special day but our friends and family made a trip of it and the party lasted for over a week)…I felt so much love from everyone including from people I was meeting for the first time…it was everything that we wanted it to be and more – by the sea, laughter, love, good food and drink, dancing and wonderful company…Together we stood before God and the world and declared our love for one another surrounded by our three children…

That September afternoon was amazing as I looked into the eyes of my love, my best friend, with my Dad looking on and felt that everything was just right (now looking back, it always had to be him and it always had to unfold in this way) while the love of friends and family surrounded us.

At the same time I had mixed feelings because my sister (my only sibling) and my Mom could not attend because my mother was getting ready to make her transition from this world…but I was surrounded by friends who are my chosen family, Erica who planned the perfect wedding for me taking on all the planning and the stress giving me time to concentrate on Mom, Mike who ensured that Lisa, my sister, could see everything live and describe to Mom what was happening as it happened, thanks to Mike she was also able to say the blessing over us…Nicola and Wayne who hosted my shower and drove the wedding party to the venue, people who gave of their time, their talents and their treasure just because, to ensure that we had the wedding of our dreams (and the greatest fete ever), my girls who came from all over to stand beside me, my cousin who flew in with her family, my Jamaican and Antiguan family and all of P’s family and friends who on that day became mine as well…

Two months later on November 30th I spent the day on a video call with my Dad and my sister watching my mother gracefully and peacefully leave this world, I watched them pray over her, and hug her and kiss her and I watched them come for her…and my heart broke because I was not able to be there physically with her in her last moments…I was grateful for technology so that I could continuously tell her how much I loved her before she left us…I felt relief that her suffering was over….in one sense I felt as if her spirit was free and in one sense the overwhelming loss was incredible…I would never hear her laugh or hear her voice again…her particular brand of quirky humor thankfully will live on in my sister and me and in my daughters…still I was grateful that she was without pain and peaceful at the end…

In March my beautiful Gianna turned 16 and I was in awe…she is such a beautiful soul inside and out…and I was filled with gratitude and pride that I was chosen to be her mother …she has taught me so much and given me so much…she is a wonderful role model for her little sister, who turned 4 this past December, and everything I could want in a daughter…

Fast forward to April 2020 – We are currently on our second week of a total lock down in Antigua and Barbuda due to the COVID 19 virus…a 24/7 curfew and everything that goes along with that which at first, surprisingly, brought on a serious case ‘psychological claustrophobia’ for me…turning on the tv or looking at social media has the real potential to increase feelings of fear and stress and I must confess that for a while it did BUT as the days passed, I realized that if I changed my mindset I could use this time to my benefit, use it as an opportunity!!!

An opportunity to really bond with my family – to spend quality time laughing and talking with them, to re-evaluate (a recalibration if you will), to go with the flow instead of being held to a schedule (not an easy feat for a Virgo), to be creative, to feel gratitude for the blessings that we have, for less distractions and more connection to what is really remember my Mom in the midst of the underlying sadness that for now has become my new norm, to be still in the midst of the chaos!

Te Quiero Mama

Amongst feelings of uncertainty, changing realities and lay offs, I am grateful for my faith which keeps me grounded, I am grateful that as a family we truly enjoy being in the same space, I am grateful for my job during a time when many people have lost theirs, I am grateful for technology so that we can stay in touch with friends and family and the kids can keep up with their classes and assignments, I am grateful for this quiet time that I can use to catch up on my reading and learn something new, to pray, to meditate, to connect… I am grateful for neighbours who will always be available to help when there is an urgent need such as a water pump that has to be replaced (during a period when hardware stores are closed indefinitely)…I am grateful that we had Mom for just shy of 90 years, I am grateful for my Dad who is an amazing father and grandfather…and so much more…

In short, I am grateful for this rollercoaster called life…I will continue this journey of learning to let go and embrace the insights that come…I will take these lessons with me when life returns to ‘normal.’

I am blessed!!!

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