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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

The Meaning of Days...

I was walking yesterday and I had this thought...

Today isn’t a big deal for me, but it used to be. And likely for someone else, perhaps that person over there walking their dog, it is the anniversary of the loss of something, or perhaps it is a day of joyous celebration for them, the birth of a loved one perhaps...

And it brought me up short. I mean, it never really occurred to me that what was just a day for me, could be a very hard, or wonderful day for someone else.

As the thought landed, I realized once more, on a visceral level, that what is ordinary to me might be extraordinary to someone else. And what might be painless for me, might be excruciatingly hard for someone else.

We really just don’t know. That person standing behind you in line might have lost their husband a year ago today. That person next to you in traffic might not know it yet, but today will be the day that their whole lives change in an instant when the phone rings at 5 pm. We really do not ever know what is going on with other people. Just as they have no clue as to what roils beneath our exterior facade of an everyday human, living an everyday existence.

I am not sure why this landed with a thud in my chest. Perhaps maybe just a little more self obsession and selfishness creeping away...just maybe.

Yesterday used to be a very hard day for me. It is Lane’s birthday and that killed me every year for a whole variety of reasons that I won’t get into right here. Mostly I knew it was a special day, and a hard day for him, and we weren’t together to endure it or celebrate it as the case might be. But since I am fully healed from that life altering heartbreak, November 19th returned to being just another day. And it was this contrast of significance given the passage of time that made me think that perhaps yesterday might be a hard anniversary for others. Or on a more positive note, perhaps it was a day of great celebration and love. We have a lot of both in this life.

This whole thought process made me think about others and how this particular day was landing in their lives. There would be people gaining people today, and there would be people losing people. And this happens every single day. For whatever reason, I had never really thought about days like this. That each day was memorable to someone for something.

It was the following day that a friend mentioned yesterday was the anniversary of the loss of her brother, and while I am not sure this makes any logical sense, I knew that on some level that defied consciousness. I just knew that yesterday was a hard day for someone close to me.

So as I walked the meadow, dog in tow, I tried to honor everyone I met with compassionate acknowledgement. I truly have no idea what their lives are like except for the briefest of moments as we pass each other on the trail. I set the intention to carry this thought with me all day long. And I succeeded until we got to Target that was overrun with college students acting dumb, then I lost it for a few minutes. I was able to rekindle my loving thoughts though, although I will say it took more effort than perhaps should have been required. In my defense, I was hungry and tired.

So today I wake up and think the same thought: today will be a hard day for some, and I am never going to really know which ones. So my intention for the day is to treat all I encounter with the kind of love and grace and compassion I would a friend who has recently suffered a heart crushing loss...

In fact, today my ex-husband and his siblings have to make the very hard decision to pull their father off life support. He is comatose and non-responsive. My heart breaks for all of them. Today will be another hard day for this family. And I can offer nothing except my willingness to help if there is anything to do and prayers that he, and they, not suffer anymore.

And I will remember that none of us get to pick the day. Somedays will be amazing and wondrous and celebratory for years to come, and for others, today will be marred forever. Altering the course and trajectory of their lives permanently.

For me, it is just a Monday, at least that is what I have the privilege of believing right now...

Everything changes and that change happens daily. And none of us are in charge of it all.

Which used to make me panic, but now brings me odd comfort in that we are all in this together. None of us is immune to the passage of time, the presence of loss and the hardship of living and loving. So today I will endeavor to do, the only thing I can really do: to acknowledge that living is hard and I have no idea just how hard or wonderful today will be for others...or myself.

And this whole thought process erodes the barriers I put up with others and levels us all to our most basic humanness. Together, again, still.

I love this photo - we took it on our last day on Maui with all of our new best friends...

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