As the year closes, I wanted to bring you a story of encouragement; a story that shows that love really is one big circle. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing. Sprinkle it out there..
Two years ago in September I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide, one of a small group of girlfriends I’ve written about in the past. It was, without a single doubt, the most difficult thing I have ever gone through. The grief was overwhelming and it had far-reaching implications in my life. For a long time, I felt like I was living in a fog; I was just going through the motions of living, without really participating. I was numb.
I lost my creative drive with regard to food, so I pulled back from developing new recipes. I couldn’t bring myself to coast with posts, just for the sake of posting. I won’t sugarcoat it; it’s been hard. In fact, our little group of friends didn’t survive her suicide. It’s tragic and sad, and often a consequence of such deaths.
I haven’t shied away from talking about her suicide, or how it has impacted me. I did get to the point where I thought I was wearing people out with it, though. I kept imagining people thinking, “Isn’t she over that yet?” So, I stopped talking, but I didn’t stop discovering. Here’s some of what I have learned:
- Life is a gift; never squander it.
- Grief never ends, but it changes.
- Grieving openly is not a weakness. Grief is better out than in.
- You never truly know a person until they show you how they grieve.
- Reject the negatives thrown your way. It’s your choice.
- Embrace the positive and hang on for dear life.
- Look for the silver lining. There is one. Always.
- Spread love wherever you go: it doesn’t take much; something as simple as a smile counts.
- No matter how long it is, this life is too short; surround yourself with, and give, love. Nothing is more important.
Bit by bit, I have pulled myself back: Different; still flawed; stronger; determined to be more loving; determined to be more kind. Determined. Dammit. But sad. Still sad.
Then, just the other day, I received a package in the mail. It contained the measuring spoons pictured above, along with a two page letter that was filled with love. It was from a customer of our fly shop, Rhonda. She shared with me her story of grief over losing a friend, not to death, but to circumstance. She told me that speaking with me, over a year ago, about what I was going through helped her with her loss. She said,
“I turned a big emotional corner after your comments. You had no idea that sharing your painful experience would be helping me…I don’t know why you had to lose your precious friend, but I know you honor her and your friendship by living well and encouraging others – like you did with me.”
Rhonda couldn’t know how important it was for me to read her breathtakingly kind words. But it was. It was the most timely gift of love I’ve ever gotten. I’ll never forget it. And every single time I use the spoons she sent, I’ll imagine myself sprinkling love into my recipes to send on to you through my posts.
Thank you, Rhonda. Thank you so, so much.
That’s the thing: Love is the light that brightens every heart’s darkness. Love is an enormous circle; giving love ensures that it will come back to you. Love only grows by sharing and you can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.
And as cliché as all of this may sound, my encouragement for you all as the new year approaches is to find the love. And give it away. A Smidgen, a Pinch and a Dash at a time.
Happy New Year, with all my love,