The death of a loved on has the power to shift our perspectives on life.
To realize what truly matters.
To realize what is actually worth stressing about…
little to nothing.
Getting a flat tire. Waiting in a long line at the grocery store. Needing to go to the bank.
I’m sure for some, this could further add to the overwhelm, but for me in August of 2020 my only thought was “My sister is dying, and you’re going to worry about that?”
If challenged, I would have been tempted to play the dead sister card throughout that fall.
Most people would have understood.
(Side note: From my understanding, people used to wear black in the year after a loved one’s death not simply to mourn, but so that others could recognize them in their sorrow and offer love and support. It was a way for love to be let in in the face of loss. Beautiful, right? Why do we try to hide our pain now?)
Why do we continue to stress about things that don’t really matter?
As my older sister would say to me and her friends in her final years “Life is too short to be anything but happy.”
Some of us want to brush that quote off as cliche, too simple, too aspirational.
As a mental health therapist, I don’t strive to be happy 100% of the time, but I do strive to live a happy life. My compass is always pointed towards joy in the face of hard choices and difficult decisions.
That relationship. That job. If I’m not happy or passionate about it at least 75% of the time, I’m out. I don’t have the time for that.
This means living by my values, dreaming big, going on adventures, and not giving energy to the negative voices- mine or others- who question my choices.
It is in choosing my own path that I honor my sister and her reminder “Life is too short to be anything but happy.”
…and sometimes, I just have to create the way for others by being the example.
Picture 1: Me and Pacer on top of San Luis Peak during our Colorado Trail thru-hike.
Picture 2: A plaque from my older sister.
Picture 3: Easter 2018 featuring my older sister, me, and our cousin.