Chapter 5,295,320 “Chapters”

The link above is to a Sermon that Past Dan Houck gave at ‘The Table” community church last November. One that truly changed my grieving journey-a sermon I often think back to. I went on the hunt for this blog entry this morning. I remembered hearing a sermon last year that, at the time, was crucial for me. When I found the entry this morning, I realized it’s still applicable today. Today, as yet another chapter of my life has officially unfolded.

No, there probably have not been 5 million chapters in my life yet, but there many have been that many moments. Last night I began to realize that I am truly in a new routine of my life. It’s pretty staged, and very orderly, but I think that is what I have needed, versus chaos. Routine feels very nice.

The next chapter of my life I am titling ‘Me’. It seems fitting since most of it is focused on my benefit. We all do things for our benefit in some way or another, but I am definitely feeling very self-indulging in this next chapter, and not in a bad way. The past year’s chapters have been titled ‘Grief’, ‘Anger’, ‘Lust’, ‘Regret’…the past year has mostly been a chapter of vital emotions of grief. I have said before that if I didn’t feel them fully, I would never deal with them. I have felt them, and I am still dealing with some, if not all, of them, but much less than before. So much less in fact, they are no longer Chapters of my life, but instead just in my index.

The focus on me is not about selfish reasons, but about simply finding me again. You cannot move forward without knowing your intentions, your sense of a self, a commitment to your goals and dreams, your moral values, an inner peace. I do not believe a person can fully commit themselves to a future of dreams and goals without first creating them through the journey of discovering themselves. I have learned much about myself in marriage, in caretaking, in death, and now, in rebirth.

I am still defining the values of my new self, where I stand on moral and political issues, where I want to go with some dreams and goals that I have. I still have a lot of growth to conquer, but I have come so far already that I know I can finally title this chapter of my life ‘Me’ without selfish ambition, and with solid footing. I am not the old me. I still hold many of my good values, but I also have a lot of complications now, and far too much wisdom for 25 years. Again, things that if I had said them in a previously Chapter would have seemed very self righteous, but now, are a perfect fit.

The chapter of ‘Me’ involves taking care of my body, my mind, my soul…and my heart. The body part I am doing great at. I can see Kevin’s beaming smile from above and what I have achieved in the past 6 weeks. 12 lbs down, a healthy outlook on my body and taking care of, a true lifestyle change. My mind is still overwhelmed at times, but I continue to strengthen it with going back to school and engaging myself in the community. My soul I am learning to receive others, to let myself feel the continual aches and pains of the grieving process, but also to allow to rest at times. And my heart, often still pained with the loss, is finally opening up to possibly see a future. A future maybe with someone else, who knows, but a future nonetheless where I can love again.

It is such an exciting chapter, scary at times, but fulfilling in many ways. In this chapter of ‘Me’ not only am I helping myself, but somehow in doing that it has allowed me to help others better. Without me being whole again, I cannot help others. It is a simple statement, but very true. I do not remember the feeling of wholeness, but I am so glad that some of those puzzle pieces are finally being set back in their place. They’re a little beat up, but they still fit.

I’m challenged in this chapter. Challenged to allow myself to take care of me, to be “selfish”, to find compassion again by way of taking care of myself. It no longer feels as scary to put the pieces back together, but instead, it feels right, and time.

I ache for him, and wish that this was another Christmas with him, instead of another without. Looking back will only bring me two things: perspective, and grief. Moving forward can bring me a complicated joy. So right now, I’m focusing on this chapter of “Me”. One that I can swallow.

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