You Have Been Here Before

Sometimes we find ourselves at a place in our lives that is so difficult and painful that we actually think nothing could be harder. We wonder if it can get worse. We are in complete despair.

There is a strong likelihood that you have been here before.

Different circumstances, different time but you recognize the pain.

Guess what? You will be back here again. And again.

So what?

It sounds pretty bleak doesn’t it?

It is true you have been here before and you will be here again. Sometimes what is happening now might feel worse than ever before. I am sure.

Sounds depressing doesn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be.

It is difficult and the good news is that difficult is ok. Difficulty even pain and heartbreak are a part of being alive, a part of everyday life. Just think about it. The key is in the thought that you have been here before, you know this place. And in spite of everything you still made it to here.

In between the pain you probably enjoyed some good times as well. That is what happens in life, we weave between what is hard and looks impossible to the places that make us joyful and strong.


What an achievement!

In some cases you don’t even remember what caused all of that discomfort, that anger, that disappointment and hardship, but you know it was awful. And you still got through it.

I remember the date February 23, 2002 clearly.

It was the day that my little sister died. Well she wasn’t exactly little she was thirty six years old and six foot two. She was still my little sister.

She had lung cancer. In spite of the fact that the doctors gave her only six months to live she lived for eighteen months after her diagnosis.

To say it was a hard eighteen months would be a gross understatement. We didn’t know how to be around our dying sister. We didn’t know how to talk about it and everyone carried around their own form of grief and fear. I cannot imagine what my sister went through. Not only that but watching my mother witness her second youngest daughters decline was a nightmare.

The dreaded day finally arrived when she passed. There were fourteen people in the room. We were held together by our common cause which was to be with my sister when she departed. We were held together by a membrane, our individual grief. In that moment we were an inseparable body. When she left a big part of each of us went with her. We were altered.

I thought I would never recover.

I flew home a few days later and in less than a week I was back at work. I couldn’t talk about ‘what happened’ at work or with friends it was better that way. I grieved for months, months that evolved into years.

I felt as though my entire being was a raw and open wound.

I didn’t want the pain to go away I felt at that time that it kept me close to my sister. I said things like, “she is worth the pain.” I didn’t know what else to say then.

I went through the pain. I let the pain go through me.

Even though the wound in my heart gradually closed, the memory of my sister is branded on every cell in my body. Sometimes I still cry at the thought of her suffering, the thought of her death.

I count on my fingers how old she would have been this year and sometimes I bask in the thought of how much I love her.

I weave between what is hard and looks impossible to the places that make me joyful and strong.

Since her passing I have experienced other pain of different intensities. Some of it has taken my breath away.

I have lost friends and family, I didn’t get that big job I wanted, I missed a lot of trains, and I have stood in the cold wishing that I lived in a hotter country. I have had some arguments.

Woven between that harvest of pain I have experienced deep joy, deep love, I have travelled to beautiful countries and seen magnificent things, I have tasted food that was divine and I have loved the greatest love of my life.


We think of my sister and my Mother.

We thank the creator for the miracles that we experience daily.

We worry about global warming.

We sit in a tower and watch the sun rise and set.

Life is happening.

Life is continuously weaving the invisible shawl that cloaks us.

The shawl created from resilience and character.

Actually, the shawl that covers us is not invisible.

You can see it in our eyes, in our laughter and in our tears.

All that we learn through these difficult emotions prepare us for a bigger day.

All that we learn thorough these joyful emotions prepare us for a bigger day.

Theresa Norris, CPCC

Photo Theresa Norris

twitter: @TheresaNorris

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