I haven't posted anything in a few months. Life got complicated.
I started a new job with a wonderful purpose.
My mom got sick.
My mom died.
Here's the thing you don't realize about someone important dying: they're gone. That might sound really obvious, but while we all know that's what happens when someone dies, it's not a reality that you can come to grips with until you experience it for the first time.
Every day on the way home from work, I called my mom. Suddenly that was taken away from me.
Movies are different now; even the new Captain America almost brought me to tears when he sees his old love in what appears to be hospice care at the end of her life.
Through this, though, I am learning new lessons. From my company, I've learned how you treat people who go through this sort of trauma: with kindness and respect, a willingness to work with them to allow them time to grieve. From my friends, a certain camaraderie with those who have been through this already, because now I know that every time I said "I understand, I am here to share your grief" I was wrong. From society as a whole, the strength in knowing we must move forward, because life will not wait for me. It continues its slow, ponderous progression regardless of what I think or feel or believe. And from my mom I learned the strength to grab the gunwales of the lifeboat and pull myself in, to not let myself drown in my own sorrow and misery. Because she didn't.
It's a stretch to try and find leadership lessons in this sort of thing. But our life is filled with the opportunity to learn. Whether or not we grasp that opportunity is up to us. Nobody will force us. I am not sure exactly what I am learning, but I welcome myself to the lesson, removing my blinders and taking deep breaths. I do this because I do not allow myself the other, darker, more miserable options. Because by the very obvious definition misery is miserable. Funny how often people truly forget that.