This weekend was significant in a number of ways, both expected and unexpected. Before my dad’s illness, Annette and I had been mulling over some ideas to start a joint blogging venture but between distance and lack of time, it never came together. We chatted on a daily basis but never had the opportunity to sit down and plan what we wanted to do. It never felt right, unlike this project which I started on a Sunday afternoon without a plan or clear vision. However, from the outset I always envisioned sharing this process with my sister because she frequently writes on her own forums and has developed an interesting, thoughtful voice that is uniquely hers. In addition to a variation in tone, we’re six years apart and undergoing different milestones, which provides additional insight. Over the past few weeks, I’ve discovered how much I love writing and the work has never been easier because it’s personal and it matters to me. I’ve tried keeping blogs before, only to abandon them after a few weeks. In the past I wrote about things that I thought I cared about or topics I thought would bring me readers. The fact of the matter is that I have never, and will never be good at crafting – I lack the patience, talent, and honestly, the interest – I don’t know how to bake, and my wardrobe consists of the same basics in different colours. No, lifestyle blogging is not for me.
Anyway, after I started writing more regularly, I began subtly or not so subtly (depending on who you ask) asking Annette to write an entry because I wanted to get her perspective. However, since she wasn’t particularly enthused I left it alone. Everyone processes grief differently and because I wanted to channel my energy into writing didn’t mean it was true for Annette or my brother. However, on Saturday, during a break from work I went to check Twitter and saw that something had been published. I rushed to my computer and read the post, also signing into this account and found that the stats had spiked dramatically. After Annette had written her piece she decided to share the link on her personal social media, something that I haven’t done. As a result, her friends and our family responded. They responded with views, and likes, with comments and encouragement. It was just what I needed because Saturday was a particularly important day: it was one month since we lost our dad. I thought I would be immobilized with grief that day but I wasn’t, instead feeling a bit numb. It was probably better that way since I was working and meeting with clients, and the idea of me crying and sniffling through our interactions makes me cringe with embarrassment. It was nice being busy on Saturday and I had the chance to see some of my favourite people, many of whom were surprised to see me working again so soon. I received great advice and gentle encouragement nestled between big hugs and polite conversation. I didn’t know what I had expected to feel that day but it was OK, I suppose.
Then came Sunday.
There are so many special events celebrated on social media, I can barely keep track of them and sometimes I’m not entirely convinced that all of these days even exist. But on Sunday morning I received a Twitter notification telling me that many of the accounts I follow were tweeting about #CelebrateLife in honour of #CancerSurvivorDay. At first it felt like a punch in the gut, a reminder that my dad hadn’t survived but after that initial feeling subsided I was excited to read what was being shared. Frequently, what I saw coupled with the #CelebrateLife hashtag was a reminder to keep living, to enjoy what we can, even if it’s not perfect. It resonated with me. There will be moments where we fear death and illness, which is perfectly natural, but more often than not, we should strive to focus on life and all its possibilities.