charise s.

Type, delete, type, delete … me trying to find the words to describe what it has been like to “barely hang on” over this last year.

Barely hanging on has meant letting go of people I love and things that I love. It has meant struggling to find the will to get out of bed. It has meant pushing to hold others up when I can barely stand myself. It has meant saying no to things that have always been yeses. It has been the experience of global, communal, and familial pain in my heart.

It has been disappointment and heartbreak as I watch the unveiling of truths I thought I knew. It has been watching one of my children face great strife and suffering that started with him and splashed across our family — we could not rescue him. It has been holding my breath as I watched people I love take their last breath. It has been countless moments of my husband and me holding each other while one of us cries — and he says, “I don’t know why” — and I say, “I do …”.

It has been naps, overeating, numbing in front of the TV, escaping into music, books, and podcasts.

Laughter. Laughter has been a staple of survival when I have sat at the precipice of “losing it” — whatever that means.

It’s been the dichotomy of having great privilege and experiencing great pain and loss all at once.

It has been the deep, soul-level longing for a HUG from my dearest family and friends.

It was walking into the hospital alone for heart surgery and being consoled by one of the medical staff in the surgery room.

As hard as it has been, in those moments that I have felt I am hanging on the edge by the thinnest frayed thread, it has been the tiniest moments of hope that kept me from losing it. It was sunshine after rainy days, snuggling my dogs, sitting in the shade of our giant tree, a song, my kids laughing, a cozy blanket, a good laugh, and every moment where I felt peace in my heart. It was hearing truth spoken in hard places. It was sitting physically distanced at the park wrapped in a blanket sharing tears and words with friends — it was a million things I may not have even noticed during a “normal” year.

I find I am still, at times, struggling to just hang on …

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