A hundred years from now you and I will not be here anymore.
Where we have lived, someone else will be living.
Where we have walked, someone else will be walking.
Where we laughed and had a cup of coffee there will be no sign of you and I.
We will be gone, gone, gone, gone.
I am going to add some letters here just so you can hear the sound of my voice when I say this.
Arghhhhhh! Damn death and mortality. Damn it.
And it will come when it will come but we are here today.
We are here today.
You and I are still here.
And I know that we have been through alot and we are not that excited about another new year coming.
But we will not die without living our life so loudly that when we are gone from these streets, from this house, from this town, from this world, our energy will still linger here vibrating through all the new people hanging out in our streets, in our houses and in our lives.
I want you to feel this letter, hear my voice coming through.
Hear my love for your life today and your life till the end.
As we walk into 2016 today, we need to leave some things behind and take some with us.
What to leave behind:
1. We are going to leave behind any beliefs that told us that we cannot do this life anymore. That we cannot make it better. That we have no chance at it. That belief is not welcomed in 2016. That belief is a lie we told ourselves because the pain of loss was too deep to think straight. You are built for new beginnings, getting back up and finding what makes you tick. Yes you are.
2. We are going to leave behind all the people who don’t make us feel good. You know who I mean. Don’t you? Yes, you do. The people who make your insides feel a little off. A little uncomfortable. A little pressured. The people who don’t make you feel good about yourself. Those people stay in 2015. Deal?
3. We leave behind staying in bed too long, watching too much TV. Every morning from now on you will wake up one hour earlier and at first you will just move. Stretch your body, your arms, your legs. Turn your head left and right a few times. Then slowly you will walk some more and then some more. You will move more in 2016. Much more by the end of it. This is not about taking on anything big, you are just leaving behind your bed, your recliner and your stillness. 2016 requires your dance moves.
4. We leave behind The Waiting Room, the stuck place. The place where everything is in transition. The place between two lives. We walk out today and slowly we re-enter life after loss with knowing, knowing that we hold the bricks, and have the tools to build something from scratch. The Waiting Room is no longer for you. We can’t wait anymore. Whether your loss was recent or long ago. We leave behind the notion that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. We are the only ones who can do that. The Waiting Room can get us so far, the rest of the way is our own responsibility.
5. We also leave behind some clothes. Yep I know this sounds silly. But I want you to go in your closet and let go of some of the things that bring you sad memories. I threw away the dress I wore at the funeral. I held on to it for at least five years. Yep. One day I walked in my closet, went right to the spot it was hanging and I pulled it down. I let it drop on the floor. Then grabbed it and threw it in the trash. Sorry to be so graphic, but no more having clothes that make me want to cry my eyes out. So go find the outfits you wore at the hospitals, at the funerals, at the accidents on the day of. You know the clothes I am talking about.
What we take with us:
1. We take with us our pride for this life we have been given. Yes I know it came with so much grief, pain and loss. But it is yours and mine and we wear it proudly. Own your losses. Own your broken heart. Own who you have become because of it. Own the woman or man you are because you have grieved so much. We cannot build a new life in 2016 if we don’t own our losses and heartbreaks.
2. We also take with us our humor. I know it’s there. I know you are funny. I know you used to have a way with words. Yep, you see I know how funny you have been in the past. Humor is key in 2016 especially to those of us we have cried our eyes out in 2015. Make friends with people who are funny too. We need to lighten up in 2016. Find our way to our laughter and joy. Even if we cry straight after. I want laughter in 2016. A lot of it. Belly laughs. No guilt. Promise?
3. We take with us our courage. The courage that got us here. You, my dear dear one, have so much courage. How do I know this? First you would not have subscribed to my letter if you didn’t have courage to change your life. You would not be sitting here reading this crying. Tears are courageous. You would not want to make life better. But you do. Because deep down you know you have what it takes. You know you have what it takes. I will keep saying this. So we keep the source of your courage. We need to name it. So we call out to it when we need to in 2016. My source of courage are my kids, and you. Yep you. YOU ARE MY REASON FOR DOING ANY OF THIS.
4. We also take with us our attitude. I know you have one. I have one too. We need this. The more crazy your attitude is the better chance you have in 2016. The more of it the better. So be unapologetically you. All the way. Every day. You. You. You. (Click to Tweet!) I wrote this letter unapologetically knowing that it will reach the souls that can read it and do something with it in 2016. Now it’s your turn to be yourself without apologizing anymore. NO MORE APOLOGIES IN 2016.
5. And finally we take with us our gifts of creativity. Please remember this: Your gifts, your skills your special talents are here to heal you. You need people who love you and you need to create. Everything else will be taken care of if you have these two things. Create unapologetically. Create from your attitude. Create from a place you have never gone to before. There lives your new identity that is waiting to come out in 2016.
Now that I said all of this, I also want to tell you that you are my hero. Because you are going to walk into 2016 with your head up high and make the next few years count.
When the new people come after we die they will feel it in their bones that we have been here dancing, writing, painting and being our unapologetic selves. Against all odds.
Well, my dear friend, I wish you the best year ever. I love you and I am honored to have you in my life.
PS. And if you haven’t heard about the Second Firsts being on audio yet, here it is. I am honored to walk into 2016 with you.
Christina, your Message in a Bottle spoke to my heart and soul! My husband took his life on April 3, 2015. This is my year of firsts without him. I am keeping your e-mail as a reminder for this upcoming year. So I will not forget what I want and need to do to go on living my life and not being stuck in the Waiting Room. I have also read your book Second Firsts. I love your writing. It has been a blessing to me and so many other people. Thank you!
Thank you for your inspirational message. My husband took his life 22 months ago, but it feels like yesterday. I am in Guatamala City right now and just got back from seeing our sponsored kids. Had it not been for your book, I don’t know if I could have done this by myself. Many blessings.
Even though it’s been five years since my husband suddenly & unexpectedly died while we were hiking, your essay had me weeping.
Thanks ! It was inspiring and nurturing.
(btw: I’m keeping the top I was wearing the day he died – haven’t worn it – it just makes me feel closer to him. We all do what we need to do.)
Thank you so much for speaking to my heart today. I am taking baby steps forward!!
Even if you haven’t experienced significant loss recently, this letter is still inspiring. It is a prime example of Christina Rasmussen’s insightful writing skill. Her book “Second Firsts” along with her online support group and HER have changed my life by showing me the way to discover my new life!
Thank you for such an encouraging and inspiring message. I will make two copies … one by my table at work and one by my nightstand as daily reminders. You help make a difference in our lives. Thank you! ☺️❤️