Today is the 9th anniversary of JM’s death.
I’m not going to post on Facebook to remind people of this date like I have in the past. I felt a kind of duty to remind others before, but it definitely was a duty that I wanted. I wanted to be the one to say, ‘hey, don’t ever forget him, don’t forget what happened today.’ I knew others missed him and would appreciate it, yes. But I also made it about me – I reminded people how I suffered, how I was changed, how I will always be changed.
But what kind of message is that? There is no good in that message. It’s selfish. ‘Don’t forget what happened to me on this day’ was my message. I want my message to be positive and worthwhile. My experience needs to be worth something.
Maybe I couldn’t see it before, I couldn’t let go of the pain of my experience, of the thing that made me feel different than my peers. I didn’t want to. I carried it as a shield – It allowed me to hold some parts of myself as untouchable. And it also blinded me from the message I now know is the only one I want to send on this day:
Try to remember, every day, to love your people more openly, more freely, even more fiercely than you think you can. Stretch yourself. And then tell them and show them, and continue to do so. Not because you have nothing to lose, quite the opposite. Anyone and anything can be lost at any moment. You don’t want to regret not loving as much as you could.
So do the work you need to do to get to the place where you can give and receive love. Where it doesn’t send you running. Take risks and reach out. Tolerate being uncomfortable expressing yourself if you aren’t used to doing that.
It’s good to remember that love, for however long or short a time, is worth it.