In Pursuit of Balance

the lies in our bones

Photo by Dyu – Ha on Unsplash

I told myself, “Julie, don’t be such a downer.”

I told myself,”Julie, why do you have to post such a sad poem when the whole world is excited because it’s the new year and all looks hopeful?”

These are the things I tell myself, the ways I judge myself.

But guess what?

The whole world ISN’T hopeful.

The whole world ISN’T singing the joys of a new year.

Grief still happens.

Grief doesn’t care what time of year it is, or what the rest of the world might be thinking.

Grief comes when it wants to–when it needs to. When we are saying goodbye to people we have loved and lost, when we are seeing those dreams we had for our future dissipate into the oncoming night like a mist in the darkness.

Grief visits. Sometimes I think the new year is the exact time we do remember our losses. We realize we are going into a fresh new year at the same time we are saying goodbye to what didn’t happen, to who we miss–maybe for the umpteenth time.

My sister has been gone from this earth for nearly a decade now. Her birthday was this month on the 18th. Silently I sent her “I love you”s while I cried “I miss you”s all day. When she left the earth I felt untethered–the only person who truly understood why I was so terrified as a child was gone. The only person to have lived through what I had was no longer at the other end of the phone.

…the only person who truly understood why I was so terrified as a child was gone.

There are so many losses that come when I think of my sister being gone, because that takes my mind visiting other similar feelings.

The loss of any parent thinking I was worth loving without condition. The loss of what I thought staying in my marriage would bring–partners understanding and loving each other through the good and bad, that mutuality I crave in any relationship. The loss of the first relationship after my divorce–hopes, dreams and whatnot. But he and I make better friends, wanting different things.

The loss of friends who were gone way too soon, like my friend and boss Adele who encouraged me to do foster care after the loss of 4 babies to miscarriage. I cry and smile when I remember returning to work after a trip and hearing her say “Tell me everything!”

Grief doesn’t care what time of year it is, or what the rest of the world might be thinking.

Lately I’ve had a little voice in my ear whispering the word “Appreciate.”

I can fall into a pretty deep hole when I am allowing grief to take its course. Grief needs to take its course, but at the bottom of that hole I get too tired to crawl out, and Appreciate-ing seems to be the hand I need to get back up into the daylight.

Appreciating the good that came out of those relationships that are now lost does come to me–the fact that I’m on the earth, even though my parents should not have been allowed to have children, choosing to hurt those they brought into this world. The fact that I have amazing children out of my marriage, that I have skills I learned from my friend/boss, those are gifts I more than appreciate.

But this version of Appreciate has been distinctively different. It has been about being aware of the small things in my life as they happen…the kindness of another person in yoga seeing me and talking to me when nobody else will engage…the new friend here in Tennessee who is good to check on me and hears me, and I do likewise for her…this cat of mine that I swear meows “mama” when she want food in the morning…

So I’m learning to recognize and accept and allow grief when it pops its head up, but I’m also learning that the balance to that grief comes in me bringing my eyes up from the ground and seeing the many small things there are to appreciate in those darker days.

I’ve been in pursuit of Balance for years now. It’s good to see it coming in some small form.

That’s where we start, right? Small?

The Bring Your Own Beverage Conversation (mine at the moment is decaf coffee): What have you been in pursuit of to improve your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I love your writing. It’s beautiful and it’s 100% authentically you! Thank you for your vulnerability and thank you for sharing parts of your story through this forum. I truly treasure it. Love you Grandma Julie!

    Liked by 1 person

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