As many musicians do as they climb the ladder of fame, they play smaller venues. The first time I saw John Mayer was at a local college next to my hometown. It was the eve of the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks. As he started his final set, he spoke briefly about that day and the people that were lost and how we’ve now turned the corner. That we’ve passed through every major holiday or personal event in someone’s life, in this one year. I remember that moment so clearly, yet for the life of me, I can’t tell you what song he started to play right after that, but half way through it, he just went in to one long solo that included, “Happy Birthday” and “Auld Lang Syne”. He was marking each yearly milestone that we all passed through before we came back full circle to this one particular day.
Today is a full circle day for my family. Somehow we have had birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and all the other things in between without one of my greatest soulmates present. How this year has passed so quickly, I’ll never be able to tell you. I still smell her, I can hear her, I talk to her on a daily basis, even if our chats are just to the whispering winds.
Somehow, it feels as if the universe knows that a piece of my heart is still missing, because a large number of the blogs I read have all been talking about grief lately. She wasn’t a wallower, she was a pick your head up, put one foot in front of the other and keep walking kind of lady and that is what I have done this year. But I won’t say that she isn’t in my daily thoughts. The amount of times I’ve been in a stationery store, waiting in line to pay for my handful of cards, only to realise that one of the ones I’m holding, I no longer need, is actually laughable. I normally do chuckle to myself, step out of line, put the card back and just shake my head.
Despite what people say, what textbooks tell you, I don’t think there are any “rules” to grief. You simply make the journey into this land the best way you know how. Maybe you pick up some pointers on the way, but I feel grief is about learning to live with your altered self. I’ll never be who I was before this. How can I be? But you pick yourself up, you dust yourself off, you see beauty in the everyday, you love those around you a little harder than before, you continue to laugh and you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel. Life is a dance of pain and love, without one, we would never appreciate the other.
I was fortunate to grow up in a home where music of every genre was played. That still applies to our little cottage. Recently my parents asked me if I had heard Scott McCreery’s new song, “Five More Minutes”? I had not and after looking it up and watching the video, I was just left in a puddle of tears. Because this song is about life, about living. Time is a funny thing, it ebbs and flows like a river. There will never be enough time with those you love. You will always want more. I could have used five more minutes with her, but I’m greedy, because after that I would have asked for more. There still was so much more to know, to learn, to hear, to see through her eyes. But she is still with me, I carry her in my heart.
We’ve passed this last mile marker that brings us full circle to one year. And we’ll all keep going because that is what she taught us; to keep your faith, to keep your head up and to keep moving forward. She’s still with us, her footprints just aren’t visible to the naked eye any more.