Life is a funny thing. One day you’re here and you’re laughing with your kids and the next day you’re not. (Bear with me, ya’ll, this post is basically just a long, rambling, run on sentence.)
Yesterday was Trent’s grandfather’s funeral, a celebration of a man I’ve known for over ten years, but really didn’t know at all. By the time I met Grandpa Ron, he was already in the early stages of what would become severe Alzheimer’s, and he usually thought I was his old secretary (also named Megan). He was a bit silly, but always fairly happy and ready to give me hugs. He danced with me at my wedding, smiling broadly the whole time. I found out yesterday that my wedding was one of the last times he’d danced. After that his body and mind slowly slipped away. Lucy was looking at old photos yesterday and saw one of Ron with his grandkids, laughing and smiling. “Is that when Grandpa Ron could hear and talk?” she asked. She never really knew him either. All her memories of him will be in a bed or a wheelchair, a faraway look in his eyes, if they were opened at all.
But yesterday I learned so much about the man he was before. How he snuck off to join the Navy at 16 so he could fight in WWII. How he created a beautiful blended family with ten kids that he loved so much. How he loved Las Vegas (and showgirls in particular). How he and his wife traveled all over and particularly loved going by boat. It was a beautiful, wonderful, sad day.
I looked around as the procession led into the church. The whole family was to walk in together. And wow, was it a procession. The family alone took up half of the church. Ron had built a big, beautiful family. Not always perfect and certainly not without disagreements, but full of love.
This year has been a strange one for me. Sometimes happy and full of hope, and sometimes really dark and depressing. I have drug myself from pretty sad places, and changed my life in ways I didn’t imagine I would last January. I never thought this would be a year of great change…but regardless, it has been. I look back at journal entries from a year ago and don’t recognize that person, she who was so angry, so full of self-doubt. The changes have been so great and purposeful, I feel renewed. I look around at Grandpa Ron’s big beautiful family and I think, “I will have that.” I will have a life full of love and joy and family.
I already have that.
The difference is, I see it now. I have removed the glasses of shame and guilt, and for now, in this moment, I see what I have. I am thankful for it, I know I am lucky.
Ironically, yesterday was also the last day of my Cultivating Courage class. This class couldn’t have come during a more perfect time. I needed a push to be brave, to stand up for myself and to remove the people and things in my life that had been causing me to see things through a veil of shame and sadness. I was probably already halfway there, but this class gave me some gentle nudges to complete my journey. One brave move, every day, for 30 days? Done. I highly recommend it.
I want to keep being brave. I want to walk into this next year, and the years to follow, with courage. The courage to be a person that makes the world a better place, through family, service and love. I want to be a person who encourages joy in the world, and helps it to spread.
I want to create a life, so that one day, when my family is celebrating who I was, they will know the world was better because I was in it. I want them to tell stories and laugh loudly. I want them to feel like I did yesterday. Peaceful, happy, grateful and loved.