Over 93 years ago, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to his son to encourage him never to give up. I don’t know what the circumstances of the letter involved, but I know Einstein, the physicist used an image that his son could easily relate to a bicycle. Momentum, along with a rider’s balance, helps keep the bicycle stable while traveling along a path. Einstein then used the saying I quoted above as a simile to demonstrate to his son that there will be difficulties and hardships in life but to achieve growth and put yourself on the path to joy, and you need to keep moving.
Grief, in some ways, is like falling off a bicycle. So many of us were doing well, and then the loss of our loved one occurred. For some, it came so quickly, and for others, it was a long, drawn-out period of pain that still stung once it happened. In some ways, it was like being knocked off the bicycle. It felt like being left on the side of the road: no cell phone to call for help, no one around who knows your pain and hurt. You are bruised and beaten up by an experience that no one except those who experience it can ever understand.
Initially, it is hell. The darkness and sorrow swallow you up, and you see no light or glimmer of hope. The bicycle is not something you want to get back on. I did not want to go down the road again. I wanted to stop and withdraw into my shell. I was not initially interested in moving forward until, one day; I met a group of fellow travelers. It was as though they spoke my language; they knew what I was going through. They lifted me up, helped me get back on the bike, and led me along a different path.
I was not going to travel the same road; I was moving into something new. To quote my friend Jim Winner “Take one step at a time, one day at a time, and remember to put your oxygen mask on first.” It was time to focus on myself. Time to get to know and understand me as I move forward in this new life. As Jim said, “It’s not being selfish; it is putting attention on what helps you to grow and move forward.”
My other friend Terrell Whitener also wrote about being the “Curator of your wife’s love.” Terrell spoke about being closer to his wife now as he shares the unbreakable bonds of love they shared as a couple. My Diane was the best person I ever knew, and I will always love her because she made me a better person, father, and grandfather. I still can hear her reprimanding me, teasing me, and praising me when I deserved it. I have learned through this journey to appreciate all the gifts she unselfishly shared with me as she taught me how to love. Yes, I am her curator and feel a great responsibility to teach others about her and the gifts she gave me.
As hard as it is at times, brothers, we must get back on the bike and keep moving forward. We must keep the legacy alive and share the gifts our wives freely gave each of us. Be the Curator, Live your life in Pencil, Get back on the bike, and keep moving forward.
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