The last few days I have been fortunate that my sister was visiting for Thanksgiving. While we are complete opposites and often do not view life from the same perspective, she is one of my favorite people and is truly my best friend. She knows me, supports me, and completely accepts me for who I am. On Wednesday we had a rare moment to just talk the two of us (Matthew and little guy were upstairs doing Just Dance). We both were sipping on some Bourbon she brought and we started talk about life… our lives to be exact.
As we talked we got onto the topic of mom killing herself. We both realized we had missed her a few days earlier for no particular reason. Our conversation then switched to how we both have managed navigating this life without her… and we both concluded we are better people because she died. We both could say with 100% certainty we are where we are in life (which we both love our lives) because of the horrific event of her killing herself. I mentioned I struggle to reconcile that the most devastating time of my life has brought me to the most amazing and joyous times. I know I would not have met Matthew and there would be no Keaton if she had not died…. my mind can’t wrap around how life works in this way.
This week I have been writing away… this summer I was asked by two people in another school district to be the third author on a book they had a contract to write on School Wide Emotional Learning. I was beyond thrilled and couldn’t believe I was getting this opportunity. Our first deadline to get a partial draft to the editor is in a few days… and as I continued to write my anxiety got higher and higher. I admitted to my two co-authors the other day I felt the same anxiety as I did in college when writing a paper…. the fear that my writing would be seen as completely horrid and wrong. Of courses they responded with such reassurance and comfort… along with acknowledging similar feelings.
I have to admit while writing today I asked myself why did I agree to this torture… but then I realized this is not torture… I read a quote by Abraham Maslow that completely had me refocus my attitude: “one can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
During my discussion with my sister we reflected on both of us going straight back to Baylor after our mom’s funeral… many assumed we would take the semester off. I think we both felt like we needed to continue life. Of courses there has been so many moments in my life where fear has tried to tell me I can’t move forward without my mother, but for some reason, both of us have kept walking forward and as our journey has continued, we have found growth… a growth that can only be born out of tragedy and pain… a growth that requires facing fears in new ways at different junctions of life.
As I edit and make last tweeks to my draft for the book deadline, I have slowly moved from fearful I am doing something wrong, to gratitude for this opportunity… an opportunity for growth.