A piece of paper with typed words on top of a napkin

2020 was a difficult year for a lot of different reasons, but I will always remember it as the year that my grandma left this world.

When she left it was as if time stood still. The week between her passing and her funeral is a blur in my memory. The weeks that followed are even more hazy. I write to remember and to process, but during the months of November and December, I never wrote once. 

For as long as I can remember, writing has been the lens through which I’ve seen the world around me. I write journal entries, thoughts, ideas, dreams, lists, quotes that I love and details I never want to forget. Writing is to me what pruning is to plants.

For some people their “writing” is painting. For others, it is running. I believe that every person has an outlet that feels natural to them. These outlets keep us healthy, and by dedicating time to them, we take care of ourselves. 

Death is a hard and harsh reality to grapple with. Whether it is the death of a loved one or the death of a relationship, experience or season, everything soon comes to an end. How a person chooses to take care of his or her heart and mind following such events can drastically alter one’s life. 

How a person chooses to take care of his or her heart and mind following such events can drastically alter one’s life. 

For me, I chose to stop writing. I think this is our default after a loss. We default to a rhythm of continued losses. After my grandma passed, I did not want to write because I knew that it would make me think about her. Thinking about her was the last thing that I wanted to do in my alone time. I stopped taking care of myself the second I stopped writing. 

Weeks later, a new year has begun and I have started taking care of myself again. One night after New Year’s Day, I forced myself to write. I wrote for hours. My thumb was numb, but I could feel my heart again. I was giving words to my thoughts and emotions. It was as if the heartbeat of my life started beating again, and I just knew that I was going to be OK. 

Everyone has their outlet for a reason. Some people may not know what theirs is yet, but it will find every person who searches for it. 

2021 is already off to a weird start. A lot of hard things have already happened. Life is always going to be a swinging pendulum between moments of celebration and moments of heartbreak. Between the highs and the lows, let us be people who take care of our hearts through it all. Our minds and our hearts deserve that. 

Between the highs and the lows, let us be people who take care of our hearts through it all.

When times get hard, do the thing that you know you need to do. I wish someone had put a pen between my fingers and forced my hand upon the paper. That would’ve saved me a lot of confusion and hurt. Let me be that person for you, the invitation that you have been waiting for. 

When life gets hard, do the hard thing. Do what you know deep down will fill your soul, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

What is your outlet to process hard things? Do you ever run from the things that you know will help you heal?

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

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