This June 1 isn’t particularly sad for me…the last few haven’t been, per se. They are thoughtful days. And they are quiet days–meaning, aside from work I’m not overly communicative. Certainly, Ken is on my mind–and on the mind of so many of those who loved him. But, it’s a day when I think about…well, honestly, more things than I could possibly list. More things than even I really know.

I think mostly my thoughts are about gratitude. How grateful I am to have had ten years of something incredibly special. Grateful that this month I turn 49. Ken died before his 46th. I can’t help but know how lucky I am just to be alive–let alone, touched both by such whimsy and by such sorrow. A wise friend once told me a quote she’d heard: “Pain informs.” It’s these gamut of experiences that, indeed, inform. The greatest tragedy of all would be to go through life’s challenges and never learn anything from them.

Ken–and the loss of Ken–have taught me valuable lessons: that life is as robust as it is fragile, laughter should be frequent, drama should be saved for the stage, sweating details is for the birds, that sunny, breezy days are to be enjoyed at all costs, that puppy breath smells like a mix of joy and hope, that love is ever-present, and that there is truly no right way–or wrong way–to experience life–as long as you do the best you can. And that without fail, every day brings promise and hope and redemption.

This June 1 is similar to that June 1 in 2011. It was bright, sunny and warm. Then, it seemed to be a promise; that happiness–silliness, even–would return. A consolation prize that everyone–not just me–got to enjoy that poignant day. It served like a sort of reminder that we’re all connected in ways we so easily forget or deny.

I’m confident in knowing I’m not the same person I was six years ago. I’m grateful for that, as well. I’m grateful I don’t dread June 1 anymore. Maybe every June 1 won’t be a quiet day. But even if they are, I think I’d find a way to be grateful for that, too.


Also published on Medium.

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