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Painful and Beautiful

There was a time in late 2018 that I regularly sought comfort in nature. After getting my kids off to school, I would go for long walks or hikes, literally looking to the Heavens for connection, direction, peace and understanding.

After arriving home, I would sit on my couch and stare out the window. Sometimes I would read. Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would nap.

My kids would then arrive home and I would attend to them and their activities the best I could. Homework time, Dinner time, bed time. Then it would start all over again the next day.

I was grieving.

And I don't even remember how long this surreal schedule went on.

grieving, painful and beautiful

My Sister-in-law, Tanya, passed away in October of 2018 due to complications from being treated for Leukemia.

I had spent the previous six months visiting her when I could, since I was in Colorado and she was in Utah.

Sometimes I would drop into her hospital room while my mom was on a different floor of the same hospital receiving chemotherapy for Pancreatic cancer.


Usually during our visits I would rub her feet with oils and give her a massage. A couple of times, so that my brother could have a break, I stayed the night with her to be her voice and advocate - because she couldn't talk due to a severe infection in her esophagus.

It was a horrendous six months, and the second time she had battled this type of cancer.

But this time, she wouldn't survive it.

So, it made sense to seek connection to her in nature. Because she loved to be outdoors.

And to talk to God and ask Him to comfort my brother and their son, because she loved God and, at the end, really looked forward to being with Him.

And I felt peace and gratitude for the time I'd had with her, both in sickness and in health. I missed her and I was grateful her pain was over.

And on one particular morning during my nature walk I came upon a hill bursting with cactus plants. They were covered with morning dew and when the sunlight hit them, they absolutely glistened. It was so beautiful; Yet I knew if I walked up that hill or reached for those cacti, it would be very painful.

And it hit me how it was possible for something to be painful and beautiful at the same time, Just like the previous 6 months had been.

I was completely accepting of my grieving. I didn't have the to energy to fight it and to avoid it would have felt like I was denying that Tanya was gone, denying my brother's heartbreak, denying that life would never be the same.

Maybe it sounds strange, but I was content to grieve. I don't mean I was happy about the cause of my grief or that it felt good - I mean I accepted what was and how I was responding to it.

As best I could, I honored whatever I needed each day. It was a gift to be able to do so.

And when I lost both parents 2 years later, It was a lesson I was grateful I had learned.

It is possible to hold two big - and seemingly opposing - emotions at the same time.

Happy and Sad.

Loss and Abundance.

Pain and Beauty.

Just notice and welcome them. Don't expect it to be easy and don't make it hard.

This is the way to Contentment.



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