Some days, just when you feel like you can’t take one more thing, life throws you yet another curve ball. And in an instant, the careful constructs of your life come tumbling right down.
That pretty much sums up my week.
If you read my blog, or follow me on Twitter, you already know we suffered a death in the family. My Aunt Loretta passed away around midnight on Tuesday. It was very sudden, and unexpected. And our family is still reeling with the shock as we try to cope with this horrible loss.
Aunt Loretta was one of my mom’s younger sisters and it is particularly hard on her, as it is for all the Farrell siblings. My heart goes out also to her three sons, my cousins Bob, Tom and Scott Kuddar and their families. I am truly, so very sorry for their loss.
Her death has left a horrible void in all of our hearts, and I cannot adequately express how much she will be missed.
Much of the 24 hours after her death are a blur for me. It took almost that long for the reality, the realization that Aunt Loretta was no longer with us, to sink in. In fact, it wasn’t until I was heading home from an entirely too late night in the office, that it really did hit me.
Strangely enough, the occasion wasn’t marked with tears (believe me, I had already shed my fair share), but rather a moment of absolute, startling clarity about this journey we call life. Well, my life anyway.
I have made it something of a personal mission to fight the negativity, the cynicism which comes all too naturally to me. “Keep smiling” and “Every day is a gift” are constant mantras for me.
Of late, I’ve added a new one: “Be open to the possibilities.” It was intended to remind me to live from the heart in everything I do, and be open to the experiences which result. It is a reminder, too, not to be scared to test my boundaries, step out of my comfort zone, challenge myself, stretch my creative wings. For without a willingness to take risk, there is little reward in life. That applies to love, friendship, work – anything and everything really.
In doing so, I know, I risk being hurt. And I am nothing if not a sensitive soul. My heart isn’t so much pinned to my sleeve, but perched there, waiting to jump.
Is it safer to keep my heart safely guarded, behind the walls I’ve so carefully crafted over the years? Without a doubt. But where is the fun in that? Anything truly meaningful is worth the risk.
I know some people see my sensitivity, my tendency to care about others so deeply as a weakness. And maybe, there have been times in my life when I thought so, too. But as I’ve gotten older, more comfortable in my own skin, I’ve come to the realization that while others may consider this aspect of my personality a weakness, I see as my greatest strength.
I think that’s rather profound.
You see, my emotions are what makes me who I am. And not only do they define me, they are the wellspring from which my creative self – including my writing – originates. Being in touch with this side of myself makes me a kinder, gentler, more compassionate human being. And it allows me to open myself to the love and friendship which brings me my greatest joy.
Don’t get me wrong, there is the logical and analytical side of me as well. But I could never abandon the part of myself that, well, cares.
No matter how alluring the idea of a life without hurt or heartbreak might seem at times of sorrow, I know such a sterile existence is not for me.
Because, for me, in order to truly live life, you have to live from the heart.
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