Tradition After Loss

If you have ever lost a loved one, then you know the pain that comes with certain dates. April 23rd will forever be branded on my heart as the day that I lost my mother. The other date that will never be forgotten? January 2nd.  While everyone rings in the new year and eagerly sets off on their resolutions, I find myself frozen in time, thinking about the past, and having troubles trying to move forward.

January 2nd was not just the start of a new year, but also my moms birthday. This however is the first one without her. 2019 was supposed to be a great year, in fact this was supposed to be her ‘comeback year’. The year that she had beaten cancer and had enough energy to start doing the things she loved again. This spring she was supposed to be busy golfing with friends, while summer was booked up for building sandcastles with grandchildren.  But as we all know, what’s supposed to be, and what actually is, doesn’t always align.

Dreading this day as it fast approached, out family decided that we were done mourning every holiday, memory, and thought that reminded us of our loss. Her birthday had always been a celebration of her life, so today would be no different.

In honour of my mom, we decided that we would release balloons on her birthday. We had done this at her funeral, surrounded by our family and close friends. As I let go of that red balloon, I watched it drift away until I could no long spot that small dot in the sky. However this was not going to be a day of letting go.

The morning of my moms birthday, my husband and I packed our girls into the car and set off to the top of a mountain. Well, almost to the top, but with screaming toddlers and icy roads, half way up a logging road would have to do.

We found a quiet spot with untouched snow, and open skies, grabbed our balloons, and pulled out a handful of markers. We filled our helium vessels with messages of love, memories from the past, and hopes for the future. Then propelled our thoughts into the air and sent them to the ones we loved. We watched as our words drifted closer to the heavens, and hugged as we shed tears for the past.

Today was not a day to let go. Today was a day to connect. A day to remember that we can mourn those we lost, but that we can also celebrate their lives.

This is a tradition that our family has decided to carry on every year as a way to remember those we have loved and lost. I hope that if you are reading this and have lost someone in your life, that you can find a way to celebrate their life. What I have learned is that no matter what emotions you are going through, they are valid and they are important. If you are hurting, then hurt, but don’t forget that if you are smiling, that is ok too. You can cry and laugh all in one breathe because there is no right or wrong way to deal with what you are going through, there is just your way. Xo

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