Reaching Out

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I will never be ok with people I love dying. Yes, I get the circle of life, growing from adversity, what doesn’t destroy me makes me strong, etc. Still, death stings.

My loved one is here; then he’s gone. I’m stuck on earth and regardless of what I believe about the beyond, the loss is unbelievable challenging. Every. Single. Time.

Still, it could be worse if there were words left unsaid or if too much time passed since connecting.

I do not live in fear. Ok, that’s a lie. I’m afraid anyone I love could die at any time. Death feels random, even if there’s a higher reason.

I don’t let fear control me. I recognize the reality. I take steps to ensure should my loved ones die, I won’t endure regret alongside grief. Grief is enough.

My boyfriend Kevin died in March. Of all the people who attended his services, I didn’t hear one say he hadn’t reached out. Kevin reached out. He kept in contact with people. He called everybody. He sent Valentine’s Day and Christmas cards.

I don’t pretend I could, would, or should emulate him. I’m not that much of a people person. Still, I have my people. If something happened to another, where would I stand?

Regret isn’t a place I want to go. So, I’m going to my people, the ones I haven’t seen in too long, the ones I’d regret not having reached out to if today was their last day.

I spent the last few days with my stepsister Emily and her family. I hadn’t seen her since 2014 and that was only for 24 hours on my way home from Australia. Her life is busy, but she made space for me. Maybe because I asked. I got on a plane from Columbus, OH to Southern California.

We had a girls’ day complete with Bloody Marys, tears and conversations about my great love and loss—the one she never got to meet. We talked family, politics, God and the Bible. I got to know her kids as individuals and love them a little deeper. I pray Emily lives long past the day I depart this world, but if by chance something happens, I have those moments and the reconnection my heart required.

There were people Kevin and I intended to visit together, people I wanted to meet him and wanted him to meet. My stepsister Emily was one of those, as is my friend Nicole.

I’m going to see her at the end of October. I can’t control everything. (Obviously.) So, I make choices to see people, connect, and minimize the chance of regret. Sometimes someday doesn’t come.

I try not to let that scare me so much as make me aware of all that’s important: things I want to do and people I want to see. This is the time. Like an insurance policy against regret.

Life will change. People will die. Let me cherish and act in acceptance of all that, even though I’ll never be ok with my loved ones dying.

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