The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.”
There have been many celebrations in the past few months, my birthday March, my daughter’s 20th last weekend. But with those celebrations, there have also come times of mourning as another grand aunt, who was also my surrogate grandmother passed the same day. We celebrated my daughter’s birthday that morning and learned of Aunt Carla’s passing that afternoon. Growing up we had a saying that “merry birds always get their wings clipped.” Which literally translates to, “happiness doesn’t last.” Growing up in a culture and with that belief that any kind of celebration always brought with it misfortune, had forced me for years to suppress my own feelings of joy or happiness for fear that it would bring some dark shadow over my life.
As I grew older and “catch sense” as we say back home, I realised how fleeting life is, that there were people who maintained their happiness even through the sadness and that the merry bird may not be able to fly but he could still sing! So I gleefully celebrated life without fear of retribution. A lesson I learned from a friend is that even though the heart hurts you can grin through the pain because grief is temporary but happiness is not only optional but constant. Life gives you more things to celebrate than it does to grieve over. For me, grief is a reminder of what we’ve lost and within those memories, there are always pockets of laughter.
Reflecting on all the people I’ve lost in my life in the past five years since leaving home there is a feeling of sadness. While on the other hand there is also a feeling of gratitude in mourning those who have transitioned. I am grateful for the lessons, the words of wisdom and in the case of my father, without whom I would not be here, I’m grateful for my existence. The sadness passes once you’re reminded those who have passed live on forever in her hearts and that death is a part of the great circle of life.
For now, I will sing even if my wings are clipped. I will remember the echoes of those souls who have left us. I will continue to live in the moment because right now is my only certainty.
This is my submission to Debbie’s Forgiving Friday series, where she writes about and invite others to share their thoughts on Forgiveness, Self-Love and Personal Growth.
©Etta D. Richards