I was watching a t.v. show the other night and one of the actors said this, “Life isn’t about your final moments. It’s about the moments that led up them.” With a statement like that how can you not ponder it. It’s meaning. Really, it’s meaning for you.
I have had my fair share of trials and tribulations. There have been times I’ve wondered what I did to deserve some of those trials. I’ve questioned myself and how I have lived or live my life. Not always the way I should, but in those moments and at those times it felt like the way I should be living them – right or wrong. I have spent much of the last few years really trying to figure out who I am as a person – not just in moments. The problem I was encountering was that I wasn’t doing true soul searching. I was attempting to alter my path, my growth, my change; not my soul. It has really been over the last year that I was able to recognize that and honestly start evaluating myself and who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. And honestly, the person I was a year ago is not the person I want to be. Change started to happen. I have a long way to go, but progress is being made – daily.
I think about all the good, bad, and ugly moments in my life. The bad and ugly are always so easy to remember – to dwell on. It’s the good ones that sometimes we…I forget to remember. When you have watched your world crumble beneath you more times than you care to remember you start to wait for the other shoe to drop. You shut down. Close yourself off. Develop a wall that very few, if any, can break down or climb over. You test people to see if they will stay. You push them away. You self destruct. I’ve done it all and more. It’s easy to remember the devastating blows to your life. The life altering blows. It’s easy to get caught up in them – to allow them to control you and how you see the world around you. What’s harder is to realize they don’t have to determine your outcome. They are moments…
The good…man, there has been a lot of those too. Some I don’t remember well, but I know they took place. Some I do remember. When you experience devastation the good moments are so much more appreciated. Sometimes we allow ourselves to forget the good. We get caught in a cycle of destruction and refuse to acknowledge all of our blessings and the positives in our life. I am guilty of that…much of the time. I try to remind myself that as with anything there will be good, bad, and ugly. If you can get to the other side of the bad you will experience greatness.
Last year, just as fall started, I was in Colorado. I went on a fall foliage drive. In those moments an earth shattering peace filled my soul. For the first time in years I felt peace – even if just for a moment. I was content. My heart was content. My soul was content. My being was content. It was then I realized I had to reconnect with myself – with my soul. My journey began…
What I forgot was that even peace will flee at times. And when it did – twice in less than 4 months I wasn’t sure where to go from those points. I frantically searched for that peace but it just wasn’t there. It was gone. I had planned to return to Colorado again this year to revisit the Mother Nature in all her glory. I didn’t make it and won’t – and damn, it’s a bummer. Then yesterday as I was coming home from training, as I drove down the interstate, amongst all the plains and green trees was an aspen…gold and yellow. And for a moment…
It’s been almost 3 months since my kid brother chose to take his own life. His birthday was last Thursday, the 6th. It’s funny…I have never remembered his birthday. In all the years of his life, I never remembered. But this year, it was like I couldn’t forget it – even if I wanted to. He would have been 29. It was my turn to kid with him about almost being 30. He harrassed me when I turned 30, but the joke was on him – I was hoping to skip a decade and turn 40. It’s hard to think of Matt and not think of him ending his life at a rest stop. Being alone in those final moments. My mind has created it’s own story and visual of how it happened. It is on a constant loop. I can so vividly see those final moments for him. Who knows how accurate it is. It’s hard not to think of what was going through his head in those final moments. And like the words I quoted above, it’s not about those finals moments. It’s all the moments that led up to them. That can be taken one of two ways. What I know is that all the moments that led to Matt’s death I will never truly know. I know the of all of the events that took place over the last few years, but I don’t know what moments led to him committing suicide.
What I do know is there were so many great moments in his life. He had an amazing life. He created many great moments with so many people. Unfortunately, those moments were not enough. Once again, those not so great moments were all consuming.
My sister died in 1995, just 6 days before my birthday. That was the second of many devastating losses I would suffer in my life. It took me MANY years to process her death and learn to move forward. For so many years I didn’t have the coping skills or the ability to deal with it. Her death was the result of a car accident. Her finals moments didn’t matter. Her death was…on impact – quick and from what we were told – painless. Megan had MANY great moments. Her life was full of moments that far outweighed her final moments. Sure there were some bad ones, but man, she had some amazing moments in her life. She was happy, and healthy, and motivated, and special. And smart – mensa smart. She had her whole life ahead of her. Her final moments were minor in comparison to all the ones that led to that. It has taken me a long time to understand that but I do.
Our lives are not about those final moments. Regardless of how those final moments present themselves. It’s about everything prior. Our lives aren’t restricted to the moment of our death. Life is about the good, the bad, and the ugly we will go through. That’s what will shape us into the people we are and become. If we allow all of them to impact us positively then we learn and grow and change. If we allow them to impact us negatively then we regress. I can say that because I’ve done both. I have allowed myself to experience both sides of the spectrum. I prefer the former.
The truth is, life sucks sometimes. It does. Some of us have been dealt shitty hands. Years ago, hell maybe even a year ago, I would have just thrown down that hand and given up. Today, I play that hand and hope for a better one in the next deal. I have a lot of work to do. More than I care to admit to, but I am far more motivated today than yesterday, than a year ago, than 5 years ago. If life is about the moments we create and experience then to create and experience them means to live, to grow, to change, to fight. And that’s what I will do. Life is beautifully chaotic.