There are times in life, things in life we would all like to avoid. Death, illness, loss. Today I was thinking about my Mom, it would have been her 72nd birthday on Friday. She has been gone for almost 9 years this year and it is less hard than it was, on most days. There are moments I wish I could talk to her, just for five minutes. She could help me unpack things no one else could.
I was thinking of my Mom because I recently read a post by Carin Towne, the mother of the late Ben Towne. Ben Towne died of cancer at the age of 3 and Carin was brave enough to share about losing him and I was reminded of losing my mother. While in no way does it compare with the loss of child, it is the closest I have come to that pain. All I could think of when she wrote about the howling, scorching pain, was how sometimes there is no over, under or around, only through, the terrible through.
For the days you wake up and for a moment, have forgotten the pain, only to have it come screaming back. How only after losing my mother-in-law in December, my favorite grandfather in January and my husband’s uncle in February did it all seem like too much. So after I had to cancel something I had committed to, telling them what was going on, and got “And?” as a response I knew I needed to start saying “No.”
So I did, I started saying “No” to playdates, “No” to volunteering, “No” to time with friends, “No” to NPR because even the radio just made me mad. I kept going until all I was taking care of was me, my two boys and my marriage. Only then did I even start to heal.
And the magical gift which appeared were the people who were still there, patient and loving, waiting for me to return. What I gained from saying “No” for so long, was the power of “Yes.”
The power of “Yes” is making sure every time I say “Yes” to something I support it 100%. No regrets, no complaints, just “Yes.”
This is a lesson I would never have learned without visiting that dark place, where “No” was the only word that helped.
I do not wish a horrible loss on anyone, but that kind of pain changes you and helps clarify what is truly important, it helps you find your “Yes.” And so, for that, I miss my Mom, Nikki, Grandpa and David, but if it weren’t for them, I would have failed to know the true power of “flexing my “No” muscle.”
Without “No” there can be no room for “Yes.”