The Things That Matter

Before I get too far in this, let me begin by saying I’m writing this one in stages. This first part I’m writing early in the week, and I’m sure I won’t get time to finish it until probably early next week.

When you lose almost everything that’s important to you, and after you’ve gone through the “fog” and the worst part of the grief journey, you hopefully come to a point where you start to figure out just what is important in this life.   I’m sure not everyone reaches this point, as I know some who are stuck in their grief journey.  That happens. It’s really difficult to get past the “why did this happen to me” part and arrive at the “okay, it happened, now what do I do?” part. It’s okay to be stuck sometimes, just don’t let yourself stay there too long.

In the span of less than five years I lost both my parents, my job of seventeen years (Hey, that was a major loss! Trust me when I say I really grieved over that!), my husband, and my father-in-law.  I had to literally start over both professionally and personally.

When going through major change and major loss, some things become clear.  I’ve learned two important things: People that you assumed would be there for you, may not be, but the people who were there for you, are those you never guessed would be “the ones.” You figure out that this life is not about the almighty dollar or who has the best or most stuff (contrary to what society wants you to believe) but it is about relationships.

This week I’m celebrating my fourth birthday since hubby’s been gone.  The last three were okay, and friends tried their best to make them special, but there was still that sadness that he isn’t here. Mom & Dad and his dad aren’t either.  This year is one of those birthdays that ends in 5 or 0, so it’s time to do it up right.  I knew if I really wanted to celebrate, then I needed to initiate the celebration. Thus, I’m throwing myself a party.  (To be continued after the party….)


I learned a lot this weekend, throwing my own birthday party.  I learned that the people who truly care about you and are able (key point) will come from very far away to be there to celebrate the good times and the bad.  This weekend I was blessed to have friends drive in from Florida, Alabama, and Kansas.

I learned that I have a very eclectic group of friends from various points in my life, but that the one thing they all have in common is their friendliness.  At one point during the party I had my pastor, my junior high teacher, two classmates I’ve known since first grade (who were taught by that teacher), my out-of-state friends, my neighbor, a more recent friend who knew no one but me, and some church friends all in the same room.  All of them sat down and talked with each other and introduced themselves. The party went past midnight, and at last count there was somewhere between twenty-five and thirty people who dropped by.

So, what are the things that matter?  Relationships matter.  The Golden Rule matters. Gratitude matters.  Honesty matters.  Doing what matters to you matters.

Some may scoff at the idea of throwing myself a party, but the time has come for me to make my own happiness, and not to look to others to do it for me.  I choose to be happy this year.  Having my friends and family around makes me happy.  I knew my family would be unable to celebrate with me (but wow, they send the funniest cards and that’s the next best thing, just knowing they took the time to remember.) so I just made a Facebook event and tossed it out there that I was opening the party room and let the chips fall where they may.  The result?  I had a very happy birthday, and my heart is filled with gratitude for the relationships that stand the test of time.

That’s what matters most.   You are remembered by your deeds.  My friends are true friends indeed.

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