Alishea Sutton

Strategic – Intentional – Visionary

It’s Never Easy

I’ve been unmotivated to write. There are times when I find my writing spurts and I’m on it, and there are times when I just don’t care. The perfectionist in me wants to curate the perfect message to the public, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to share a part of me that might help someone else. 

If I’m being honest, the last year has been rough. Experiencing moments of grief from the death of family members and friends, and shattered expectations of various relationships were overwhelming. I know that life is unpredictable and emotions can be difficult to navigate. Life is also very fragile and not to sound morbid, but none of us will make it out of this journey alive. But back to grief and its grasp on our lives. We don’t only grieve the death of people, but situations as well. It’s a tricky thing to deal with – it comes in waves and can sneak up on you when you least expect it. 

My family recently experienced the death of my father after losing my brother a year ago. We barely had time to grieve my brother before having to come to terms with my father’s health issues. After months of uncertainty, the time came when my father’s mortality was being questioned which started my family through the five stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As an FYI, grief is not linear. 

The situation my family dealt with was hard – there’s no other way to put it. Leading up to the death, planning of services, and no living life without him. We were there as he was actively dying – an image I’ll never forget. He won’t physically be here to celebrate holidays or birthdays. I went to his grave to celebrate his birthday with him (I was devastated he didn’t live to see his birthday – he passed nearly two weeks before his 75th birthday). Even thinking about my upcoming wedding constantly devastates me because I know he won’t be physically there, but my prayer is that he’s there in spirit. It sounds selfish but it hurts. 

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.”

Audre Lorde

During the planning of services, my mother asked me to write and read the obituary during the services. I was terrified to do it because I wanted to get it just right. With the help of my family with revisions, we did a great job. At the service, I got through most of the obituary. I only broke down when I started to read about the type of man he was on Earth, so my fiance was gracious enough to finish a portion of the reading for me. 

Last year, we were in a similar situation while planning my brother’s memorial services. Thinking of things those who’ve passed away, what they loved in life and sharing those with others is a great honor but very difficult. I pray that God gives our family a break. 

The lessons that came out of these situations are cliche, but cherish the time you have with people. Thinking back to how depressed I was throughout my life made me feel like I missed out on time that could be enjoyable, but my mind wouldn’t let me enjoy my life. If you still have time, let folks know how you feel. Now please keep in mind that cursing people out isn’t what I’m suggesting. I’m talking more along the lines of, “this situation made me feel like…” or “I’m sorry that I…” There are moments that we won’t get back but that doesn’t mean we can’t move forward and start over. Know that it’ll take time to repair the relationship or situation if hurt or harm was caused. Also, keep in mind that no one is perfect. 

Life lessons are never easy. Some lessons come from difficult situations that make us stronger and they do build character. As difficult as that is to write because it can come across apathetic, there is truth to it. Other lessons do come from moments of compassion and empathy. There’s a mix of ups and downs, trials and triumphs. How we react and respond is up to us. The moments that help us grow and challenge us have happened, are happening, and will happen. None of us are exempt from character-building lessons. What we can do is to reflect on our lives, where we are, and who we can be to others. 

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