After a Hurricane Comes a Rainbow

"We are the music makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

And sitting by desolate streams;—

World-losers and world-forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems."

-O'Shaughnessy

The above Ode was my brother Michael's favorite quote. A Music Maker indeed... You will find it in two important places that are connected to him. The first can be found in his high-school year book as he chose it for his senior quote, the second was actually my doing, when painfully having to decide what would forever be engraved on his headstone... Michael tragically left us on the morning of July 25th. My life from that moment would forever be changed. 

On July 25th, I normally do write about him. It has become such a therapeutic tool for me. And I believe for anyone who knew him as well. But today, I want to write about something a little different. I want to share about the miracle(s). 

My brother... A talented musician, devoted and true friend, over-protective brother, avid snowboarder, photographer, evolved thinker. He was always seeking out a new journey and had a love for adventure, which ultimately would be at hand in his final hours. I used to blame him in my head. Screaming thoughts at him, never fully understanding why he had to go exploring that night, why did he have to be so dam curious. Through-out the years, I slowly became the exact opposite of everything he was. I hated traveling, new experiences gave me anxiety, taking risks (no way). I was stuck in my fear that if I went to far left or to far right, it could cost me my life. So I just coasted through each day, always playing it safe. Yes, yes I missed out on so much, but I was alive wasn't I?  Maybe in the physical sense, yes I was, but in the spiritual sense, I was dead. At this point, I had zero faith and was just going through each day the best I knew how.

I believe when one experiences such a tragic loss, you have two choices. You can live in the past or you can live in the moment. During the grieving process you may actually bounce back and forth, going from the past to the present, the present to the past. The past, for me, meant a different life, one where my brother still existed. The past is a place where I could mentally retreat to and relive memories of growing up, living and learning from him. But... the past is also a place where the darkness existed, never fully feeling a love but just a painful glimpse of what used to be. I knew living in the past was a place I couldn't stay in forever, it was causing me more pain than good. 

So, about those miracles... I like to look at them as little gifts from my brother. Gifts that keep coming, they are endless, they are everywhere, they are available to me anytime I need one. Want to know the secret to experiencing miracles in your life? Simply, by living in the present. When you move on from the past and are not fore-casting into the future, then you are fully in the present. In the present is where all the goodness exists. In the present, you are protected and guided. You have everything you need, right in that very moment. This is where you will start to see the miracles in your life. You do not need to have experienced a tragic loss or some other life altering event to see the miracles all around you. You only need to be present to receive YOUR present. 

Miracles come in the form of divine intervention, perfect timing, luck being on your side, coincidence, right place-right time, the stars aligning, or karmic energy. Which ever phrase works for you, all of them can be summed up with one word, Miracle. They are the little or huge events that take place in your life, that have you looking up and saying, "Thank-you". They are the friend that calls you exactly at the right moment. They are the diversion in your day that has you cursing but ultimately puts you in a safer place. They are the job you really really wanted but didn't get to only get a call with a better opportunity. They are the person in front of you that pays for your coffee. They are the rescue dog that was supposed to be temporary but now completes your home. They are the sun that shines through the rain on your wedding day. They are the kisses your child gives you when you don't want to be bothered. They are the smile a stranger shares while holding the door open when your hands are full. They are the flowers that grow the tallest even in the darkest part of the garden. They are the lessons we learn from those who do not even know they are teaching.

I used to think that if I let go of the past it meant letting go of my brother. How could I still feel connected to someone who indeed was not present in the present? So, I took small steps, each day telling myself, "Malissa, it's ok to let go of the past." I needed to give myself permission. I needed to trust that letting go did not equate into letting him go. With each passing day that I would tell myself it was ok, I could start to actually feel his presence in my present. Could it be that my connection to my brother was actually getting stronger in the present than in the past. YES! This was my gift, my motivation! Now instead of giving myself permission to leave the past in the past, I now remind myself to live in the now, live for today, live for the present. Do I still miss him? Do I cry for him? Of course I do. Instead now, I am  able to enjoy the gifts that remind me of him and enjoy the beautiful rainbow that has finally emerged after my storm. 

If you are missing someone today, I wish you the strength to seek the present and experience these little miracles that can fill your heart more than the past ever will. And if your not ready to see them today, no worries, they will be waiting for you tomorrow. 

Love Never Fades, It Just Changes Forms

Love Never Fades, It Just Changes Forms

These are my own opinions and experiences. Any thoughts and or idea's posted in this journal are not meant to self-diagnosis or used in place of medical attention. If you or someone you know is grieving or suffering a loss, please find the appropriate help within your community.