Everything has a beginning and an end. A simple enough concept, yet incredibly difficult to rationalize when faced with a journey full of obstacles; obstacles that seem unyielding.
My great aunt Adele lived through World War 2, a time riddled with tragedy and uncertainty. As we face a global pandemic, Adele aged 95 was asked in a family Zoom how she saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Adele’s steadfast advice was always this: “Accept whatever is taking place. Don’t buck the trend if you can’t control it. Do all the things you are supposed to do to be safe. Accept— go with the flow. Otherwise you will make yourself unhappy. The situation will come and it will go. Stand your ground- hold the ground- stand fast. Things have a beginning and an end. If you do this you will be happier.”
I often forget how difficult it is to simply stand strong. Constantly, I have outside forces blowing me off center—balancing being a mother with my career, maintaining a healthy relationship with my husband, and most recently COVID-19. Yet the source of the majority of my pain and guilt comes from the accident.
I am afraid, and I am guilt ridden. The day of the accident was the day that a woman’s journey on this earth ended. And I am to blame. I am responsible, and I have accepted the responsibility of my actions. However, I am hyperaware that acceptance of responsibility does not mean there will be acceptance of the results of my actions, this will never end as it should not. It is my honor and burden to honor the life of the Woman who died. She too faced obstacles; she was a woman, a mother and a friend. Though my journey as a woman, a mother and a friend continues on, I will never find peace as a result of my action.
Whenever I am feeling consumed by these feelings, I think about something my close friend Jane once told me. She said, “There’s time to be born and there’s time to die. There’s a sunrise and a sunset. Where you started is not where you are. Every journey has a beginning and an ending, meaning nothing is permanent. Beauty has an end, pain has an end and when you understand this, the heart and the soul stops wavering. They become still and calm, because your beautiful mind reminds you that this too… has an end. The wise will see the end of a thing, be it good or bad, from the beginning, hence they tend to focus on the present.”
Generations separate my aunt Adele and my friend Jane. And yet, as a result of varying experiences, they both gave the same advice—remember that everything has a beginning and an end. I believe that the guilt I hold with me from the accident will be a part of me until my end, yet I hope to rebuild from the pain. I want to rise from the ashes, wielding my pain as a shield against my demons. I want to convert the turmoil into upward momentum, and make positive changes. I know now that, to live in the present, I must act in order to prevent future tragedies. I know that I can never bring back the life I took, but I know that I can help deter others from making the same mistakes I made. I have an opportunity to bring positive change, and escape from the pit of negativity surrounding me.
Currently, it seems as though this global pandemic does not have an end in sight. I think about my children, and how their education is affected as a result of COVID-19. They are the future, and they are only at the beginning of their expeditions in life. This is their childhood; their time to enjoy the beauty of innocence. Making childhood friendships that can last a lifetime is stunted by distance-learning, and their quality of schooling will not be the same. So, as a parent myself, I find it necessary to remember that this will end. For right now, we must support our children. Provide them with all that we can, and enrich their adolescence with love and kindness.
Seasons come and go each year. Currently, the leaves are beginning to change as summer comes to a close. Hurricanes are forming, and once they pass, leave us with scattered leaves and the smell of autumn. These long, hot summer days are replaced with crisp, short ones. We know this pattern, for we are forced to confront it each year. We are ruled by the weather-when it rains, we reach for an umbrella. When it snows, we reach for our boots. We do not simply cope with the changes in the weather-we face them, head on. We do this because we know the temporary nature of weather. So think about your pain, and your turmoil, as a singular weather event. Grab your umbrella, grab your coat, and face it. Be resilient, and find a way through. Because a new beginning is on your horizon