“Aim for growth, not for perfection”
Recently, a friends Mom passed away. It became a full circle moment for me. I saw my Father’s funeral a few years ago through another set of eyes. I was able to place my Dad’s funeral in a more circumspect manner. I remember being upset -- how could everyone else function almost so normally? Yes, they were upset, but my life was being turned upside down. I didn’t know how to live.
But now, seeing a close friend go through the loss of a parent and able to differentiate but also relate to my own experiences, I see how everyone did. Others are not consumed by the grief as much as those directly affected it. I saw myself in this role, I guess you could call it grieving from a distance for lack of a better word. It still changes your life, but when it is your parent, it can change every aspect of who you are and how you identify yourself.
I saw myself in the grieving from a distance role. I understood why others acted the way they did around the time of my Dad’s death. Not they acted badly; they didn’t. It was just a catastrophic change to my life when my Dad died, and less of a change in theirs.
I reference quotes quite a bit..I reference them to guide me, and to help me through this journey called life. Even the title of this post is part of one, one that came from a random discussion with a friend. It was one of those that came up in conversation, and I wrote down to hold on to, without really knowing why. As I wrote this post, now a few weeks later, I now know why I held onto it. It was waiting for the need for this post to enter my head.
Another favorite quote of mine is the advice Jor-El gives to his son in the original Superman movie, as he protects him and sends him off from Krypton. Part of which reads:
You will make my strength your own,
And see my life through your eyes,
As your life will be seen through mine.
The son becomes the Father,
And the Father, the Son.
I was asked, and then agreed, to give a eulogy for my friend’s Mom. Initially, I hesitated but I thought on it, slept on it and then agreed. Like with my Dad, it was the last way for me to say what I wanted to. I had a chance to express my feelings and show my love. You could also make an argument I was partially in denial and agreeing to speak was forcing me to face the fact I was going to lose someone close to me. I felt this was a full circle moment for me…I felt my Dad’s strength supporting me, as I was supporting someone else. It is one of many ways the Superman quote above has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I practiced my Dad’s eulogy 4 or 5 times before I ever gave it. I was scared I was going to lose it and I figured if I practiced enough, I would get numb to my words and be able to make it through. I never made it through during the practice readings without sobbing. When I finally gave the eulogy, I somehow made it through. It may have been my Father’s strength starting to become my own.
This time though, I wrote the eulogy, I practiced it once and then I pretty much left it alone until the morning of the funeral service when I changed and added a few things.
Although I still have a smaller fear of public speaking since my Dad died, it still exists, but yet I had no fear again at giving this eulogy. I was honored. Throughout the service, throughout the couple of days we spent with my friend and his brother, I felt nothing but strength. I felt this need to be strong, It came naturally. I’ve been there before, but I am also an Empath. You take care of the ones you love, and you worry about yourself later.
There was an episode of Grey’s Anatomy a few years ago (another quote) with this one from Meredith Grey:
Will you be strong or fall apart? Its hard to predict. So, don’t worry about it. Enjoy the time you have before the news comes. Yeah, ignorance is bliss (Meredith Grey, Ellen Pompeo, on “Grey’s Anatomy”)
I stayed strong as long as I had to. I took care of everyone else.
By the time we got on the plane back home, I began to feel exhausted and attributed it to a long day, including the funeral. I thought I was just over tired.
The following morning, I slept in (a whopping 7 hours of sleep), we went out for breakfast and had talked about going to a movie or spending the afternoon out. I just couldn’t. Now that I didn’t have to be strong, I began processing everything from the past few days and the emotions began to surface that I kept at bay. I stayed strong the entire time we were there so that we could support my friend and his brother. I was mentally and emotionally spent and tired. Instead of our original plans, we went back home, I took care of myself and I crashed for another 2 hours.
Even so, this is still growth.
To a point, I fell down, but I did not fall apart.
This is all part of my journey.
I aim for growth, not for perfection.