Alexander

Is it possible to genuinely love and miss someone that you’ve never met?

This is a question I’ve had to toss around for many years as I continue to process the death of my brother four years before I was born. It’s the question that challenges my definition of love and how I think about life. But I’ve landed on an answer, though I still get a bit confused about the “how” of it.

My answer is yes. Most certainly, definitely, and absolutely.

There’s just no other way about it. I love my brother, even though I don’t know him and I don’t know what kind of person he would have grown up to be. I don’t know if I would have gotten along with him, I don’t know if he would be a good person, I don’t know what he would like or dislike, but none of that matters. I love the child whom my mother and father love, and I miss the relationship I could have had with my brother, no matter what that could have looked like.

I’ve come to the conclusion that love isn’t dictated by what makes sense, or even by time or space. And I think that’s changed how I love people. I want to love people fiercely because I don’t know how long I’ll have the honour to keep them. I want to show my affection to those I love so they always know that I love them. I want to love people even when it’s difficult because people are worth it and gosh darn it love doesn’t always have to be reasonable.

I’m so thankful for the love of my family and the precious people around me who support me and allow me to support them in times of trouble. It’s difficult to express just how much they mean to me. The words just don’t exist.

Remember to tell someone that you love them today, no matter the circumstance and no matter the distance.

 

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The Karklins Kids

 

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Considering Coping

Do you know that thing where somebody asks you how you’re doing and you say, “I’m doing”?

I wonder if we want to say “I’m coping” instead.

The concept of “coping” tends to have a negative connotation in our world today, as if coping was indicative of an inability to have a real handle on life. But I don’t think that it’s a bad thing to not have everything under control. I certainly have a lot in my life right now that’s out of my grasp. And so I cope.

I cope a bit better these days. I used to run and hide from everything in a manner that hurt myself and others around me. I would shut people out and retreat to the same lies that I always told myself. I took my negative feelings out on the people close to me. Sometimes I still do. But now when I try to cope with life, I tend to treat everybody a little better than I used to.

I also breathe a lot more now, and I try to establish a sense of being grounded rather than letting my brain get ahead of itself. I also tend to clean when I’m stressed, which may be a sort of avoidance but at least something productive gets done! A bubble bath every once in a while can also be nice. Sometimes, I do a Google search of “ways to cope with stress” or something similar, to try out something new and maybe add it to the repertoire.

But I have to admit that I’m still a bit of a mess when it comes to coping. I often rely on distracting myself from unpleasant things to try and keep getting what I need to do on a daily basis done. I avoid being alone because being alone can honestly be terrifying and paralyzing.

And avoiding the paralysis is a high priority for me. When I get to that state it’s very difficult to get out of. I remember in high school when things would get to the point that I honestly couldn’t leave my bed. Moving was just too much energy. And I admit that hygiene would take a back seat when things got rough in my first year of college. I apologize to everybody who had to sit next to me in class when I hadn’t showered for longer than I’d like to admit (dry shampoo and I became very good friends that year). I don’t really know how to feel about those memories. They’re a big part of me; they’re familiar, and yet when I look back it seems so odd. It feels like I spent more time just hanging on rather than living fully. It’s only in the past two years that life has had more shades of colour than “coping.”

I’m not sure what I’m aiming for by writing this all down. I know that one blog post won’t “fix” how I’m feeling. I never expect this time of year to necessarily be very different than how it’s always been. Perhaps it’s even useful to have these times where we’re experiencing life at its bare bones.

Maybe I’ll start by trying to be more honest in the next while to say “I’m coping” rather than “I’m doing.”