Holidays are life markers in a way, moments in time that cause pause and reflection. They arrive with excitement and celebration, but sometimes the festiveness is dampened by an edginess, or a sadness, because of life changes we all go through. 😥
Wow, I am feeling the changes this year. My family lost three men since last Thanksgiving, two within the last few weeks. My husband’s cousin Onofrio lived almost 6 extra years after a lung transplant, years rich with life. My stepdad Budsie, we had lost little by little in roughly the same 6 years from Alzheimer’s. And the father of my children left as suddenly as if he had been struck by lightening out of the blue; or kidnapped by aliens; clearly placed in the “much too young to die”category by most.
It is also our our first Christmas in sixteen years without our dog, Skippy.
We, as humans, are all going to have holidays that tug at our hearts. No one gets out of here alive. Sometimes we leave suddenly. Sometimes we have a diagnosis we dance with for awhile. Some live 100 years, skating through life’s challenges with aplomb. And we do not know which one we are, or will be.
Line up here everyone, and be depressed!
No. Line up here and feel the richness. Line up here and find the beauty. Line up here and live just in this moment. Line up here with the family and friends who are here, knowing those gone are safe.
Line up! Do not miss a day, or a moment. Feel the joy and feel the sadness. This is your life, after all. Don’t waste a minute of it. Grab it by the lapels. Laugh if you spill the gravy. And grab onto someone and hold on tight if you need to cry. Permission to dip low sometimes; just for goodness sakes scramble back up. Love the world while we are here together.
Mary Oliver says it in another way:
Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
Melissa Regan is a Storyteller who is honored to celebrate the life you live and the people you love. She partners with individuals at significant times of life and loss, supporting them by creating and presenting their loved ones story at a service or by planning an inspirational day of rememberance and reflection.
Melissa spent time as a critical care nurse before she became specialized in the field of organ donation. Melissa was well known for the care she gave grieving families and did this delicate work for 14 years. Her experience lead to her teaching heartfelt methods of communication to donation specialists around the world.
Inspired by everything these families taught her, she expanded her perspective on life by studying Positive Psychology, earning both a CiPP and a CAPP. She received training as an end of life doula through INELDA. She has a special grace all her own when it comes to supporting us at times of change and loss.
Melissa is a wife, mother, lifelong learner, and a lover of the wonder you can find in a single moment. She brings this wonder to her public speaking, connecting us to the grandness and depth always present in the day to day.
“Take a day to be thoughtful... the rest of your life is here.”