I attended a funeral a couple months ago. I know most people don’t particularly like to attend funeral services, but I especially don’t like attending them unless it is close family or someone near and dear to my heart. With this one being only the second one I’ve attended since Kenny’s, I wasn’t sure what or how I would feel or if I’d feel anything. I have attended several weddings, which have proven to be a little harder for me, so a funeral had never really crossed my mind and if it would be hard or something to worry about tackling.
However, as the morning crept up and it was time for me to get ready for this funeral, the feelings started setting in. Honestly, the day of Kenny’s service, I couldn’t tell you the details of that morning or what I was doing, eating, thinking, etc., but I could feel and knew it was a big day. Probably bigger than our wedding day. This day marked the ending of a life here on earth. But it was also the beginning of many.
This may confuse some, but let me explain.
Just because you are given the breath of life does not mean you are given the permission to live life. And there’s only one person who can grant that permission to live, and live well. That person is you. And only you.
Just because you exist doesn’t necessarily mean you are living.
Have you given yourself permission to live? Have you given yourself permission to make mistakes?
If you haven’t yet, you should. It’s not too late. It’s never too late if you are still breathing.
It’s a very powerful thing to let these things happen. It’s one of the most freeing things you can do for yourself. And once you do this for yourself, you will see it permeate into other areas of your life. People will take notice and wonder what you did or what caused the change in you.
With all of this said, it isn’t easy. It’s scary. It takes courage. It’s one of the bravest things you will ever do, for you. You may, no wait, you will get hurt. You will fall flat on your face. You will mess up. (This is where the giving yourself permission to make mistakes comes into play.) But that’s okay. I will say it again – that’s okay. That’s the beautiful mess of the whole process.
The day of Kenny’s service, I knew that was the ending of the life I knew and was accustomed to and the beginning of a new one. A new one in that it was going to be different, for many reasons. Way too many to list them all in this post. But I knew that it was going to be a process. It wasn’t going to be the next day and boom, my new life was going to be there ready for me to pick up all the pieces and move in. It was going to take time. And lots of it. As soon as I accepted this, I started working on the process, and essentially working on myself, slowly, but surely.
When I was at the funeral in June, strangely almost exactly a year later, I started thinking about the past year and the journey I’ve been on for myself. It was overwhelming thinking about all the changes, all the mistakes, all the face plants, all the good memories, all the heartaches, all the lonely days and nights, all the rough work days, all the ups and downs that got me where I was that day. And I wasn’t mad about any single one of them. Every single one taught me something – something about other people and more importantly, something about myself. The new self that I’ve been trying to find was finally coming together, piece by piece. Of course, there is no finite place one should be – we are always evolving and should always be learning and changing. But there is definitely a foundation from which a person grows from and defaults back to when necessary. Sometimes that foundation is cracked and needs repair. This is where I was last year. I was still Danielle, deep down, but the person I was before Kenny passed away was different and honestly, quite broken. Once my world came crumbling down and all that was left was the foundation, it revealed how damaged and broken it truly was.
After first, it wasn’t very apparent. But after the fog disappeared and the dust began to settle, it became evident that I needed to work on myself. The load I had once carried before Kenny passed away became very heavy, and I started to become more and more unstable. As I became more aware of this, I sensed I needed to give myself some space. Some space and time to regroup, reevaluate, and repair my cracked foundation before I could start rebuilding. Seeing this problem and realizing how much work it was going to take was scary. Very scary. It was raw. But it was all I had left and what I had to work with.
As scary as it was, it was truly a blessing. I had been given the opportunity and the ability to fill the cracks with the necessary material and not just a quick fix or patch, like I had been doing in the past. I was really able to look at myself and see what needed to be worked on for me and me alone. This can be very scary for most people, as it was for me. But it can also be refreshing and freeing all at the same time.
While I sat in that church pew last month, I saw all the people who this woman had known and how much she influenced their lives, whether it was early on in her life or later on. She reminded me so much of Kenny in that she loved on everyone she ever came in contact with and gave them her undivided attention when she was with them, making sure they knew they mattered and were important. I kept thinking how they were one in the same. That she was Kenny, and he was her.
I sat there feeling like I was watching Kenny’s service all over again, but from a different perspective. Not from the very front pew, but from the back. Not as his wife, but simply as a person for whom he had the opportunity to influence while he was here on earth.
I was so thankful and grateful that I was able to attend that funeral that day. It was amazing to see all the lives this woman had touched, and it gave me hope all over again that there are beautiful people still out and about, changing lives for the better not to further themselves in this world, but just simply to love and care on people. I was so glad I could to show my respects and love for her and her beautiful family. But selfishly too, to see how this whole past year had finally came full circle, and to have the clarity to see how everything had fallen into place – I am eternally grateful.