Generally on Wednesdays (or Thursdays if I forgot what day of the week it is thanks to quarantine brain), I do a What I’m Wednesday post. I fill the post with little tidbits of my real life outside of the blog.
I didn’t do this post or any post last week, not because I forgot what day of the week it was. It felt wrong to write something light and fun in light of the heavy news cycle. It was an on purpose, making space for other, much more important things than whatever anecdotes I have to share these days. The news has been so sad and I have been following it raptly, absorbing and trying to listen to as much as I can. I will continue to listen and do my best to be a voice of positive change and love in any way I can.
I keep seeing the poem by Leslie Dwight floating around social media.
“What if 2020 isn’t cancelled?
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow.
A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.
A year we finally accept the need for change.
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change. A year we finally band together, instead of
pushing each other further apart.
2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather
the most important year of them all.”
This year has been a horror show of constant tragedy on a global scale. Between the pandemic and the deeper issues of racial and social injustices that have come to a tragic tipping point, the raw shared trauma of the past 6 months is unthinkable. A year ago no one thought we would have to live through such collective pain and fear. It was unfathomable.
My hope is that this poem is right. That 2020 will become a year that sees us banding together and working towards real change. Growing.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile or know me in person, you know that we are no strangers to raw painful grief and fear. I’ve written openly about the loss of my son and the uncertain prognosis his twin had. The experience of child loss and having another child in jeopardy was a nightmare I couldn’t wake from.
The experience peeled away everything I thought I knew about myself and the world. It weeded away all the extras and left me with most basic, paired down version of myself.
As I’ve started to heal from the hell we lived, I’ve noticed I’ve changed. My husband has changed. And that change hasn’t been for nothing. In these changes, I truly believe we have become better versions of ourselves. Instead of worrying over little things, we don’t. Not much can compare to the very real fear that your other child may die or may have serious lifelong health issues. We see what’s important and we live for that. We know the people we can count on to lift us up when we can’t lift ourselves and know to treasure them.
I’ve also found the courage to share our experiences, to write about them and speak about them. In high school, I had a reputation of being an outspoken feminist, ready to dismantle the patriarchy with my sense of righteous indignation. Somewhere along the way between then and my loss, I had lost that and much of my confidence. But recently I’ve found it again. While I’m not marching, I’m speaking and writing and that can lead to change or even just validating someone else. It puts something good out into the world.
My hope for the tragic trainwreck that 2020 has been is that we as the collective can let it strip us down to our bare selves. I wish for the vulnerability, fear and uncertainty to allow us a period of reflection so we can find our way to grow into a better version of who we are and make real meaningful changes where change is needed.
While my own growth and finding my voice doesn’t fix the grief of living through loss and trauma, it turns it into something manageable and purposeful that allows me to find peace I’ve never known. Peace that grew directly from the pain. And that is my ultimate hope: that we collectively can find a new kind of peace from the wretchedness of 2020.