In remembrance of Melissa, in the Broadway tradition of dimming the lights, I'll be going dark here on the blog until Thursday. First, I want to honor her memory with a blog post.
Melissa's passing has caused those that knew her in the blogging world to stop and remember all her posts that we connected with most. Melissa was an open, honest blogger who shared topics in which we all saw ourselves. Such as in her August 15 post, "Because I'm Not Perfect." In the post she talks about using paper plates for dinner, yelling too much, nagging too much, wearing mismatched socks, leaving unfolded laundry that may or may not be put away the next day, and other things. All done because she's not perfect.
"And, there may be moments when the notes of imperfection seem to take over until our lives are filled with discord. It’s those moments of ugliness and character flaws that remind us that we are only human, that we need to slow down, get more sleep, and ask for forgiveness. It’s grace that allows me to get up again and again."
In her post from June 15, "The Illusion of Perfection," Melissa talks about how she enjoys going through model homes to see the new paint and beautiful decor. Everything perfect. Everything in its place. Yet, it's an illusion. Those "homes" aren't practical. They're not real. And even if her home were perfect, even for a few minutes, her life wouldn't be.
"There will still be disagreements and disappointments. My family isn’t perfect. I'm not perfect. Life isn't perfect. I don’t love my life all the time, but I do know that underneath the messes and the squabbles, there is a lot of beauty. There are some flawless moments weaved into the tapestry of life. And, that's not an illusion."
Through these posts, Melissa's words show us that no one is perfect. Life isn't perfect. In striving for perfection we're likely to miss the important things along the way. The hugs from kids who 5 minutes ago were driving us up the wall making another mess to clean up. The "I love you" from a spouse before bed after a day where we nagged them a bit too much or were a bit too snippy. When we see things that seem perfect, it's not real. Striving for perfection, holding ourselves to such a high standard as those model homes or what moms "should" do will only keep us from those things in our lives that are perfect -- The love we have for our kids. The love they have for us. The times spent with them and with our spouses. The memories made together that we, and they, will carry forever. Our honest, simple, truthful words that for even a few minutes touch another and show them that they're not alone.
Everything doesn't have to be perfect to have a life of happiness and love. A life that can be gone too soon, when we least expect it and aren't at all prepared. Leaving us not thinking of the times the laundry wasn't folded or crumbs coated the floor (for a few days in a row before we got to cleaning it up) but of those moments spent sitting around in mismatched socks eating pints of Ben and Jerry's, enjoying life and enjoying each other. Not of the workouts missed but of the times spent laughing together.
And, in those not-so-perfect times that are bound to come and your emotions are racing through you -- such as when you lose someone you love and you're struggling with grief and loss -- remember Melissa's advice to just breathe.
"...when your toddler is throwing a tantrum and you feel like the whole world is staring at you, just breathe. When salty tears are bathing your face because you feel like you’re the worst mom and you’re not doing anything right, just breathe. When you’re racing around because there is too much to do and not enough time, just breathe. Breathe in the smell of your children’s freshly washed hair when they cuddle with you at night. Breathe in the aroma of your morning coffee, whether it be hot, warm, or stone cold. Breathe in the moments of beauty, the silver linings, all the small, good things. When everyone else has gone to sleep, breathe in the quiet night air. Breathe out all the negativity. Exhale and remember you can’t control everything. Remember that it’s okay to feel anxiety, frustration, sadness...it means you’re human."
If you would like to help support the Matters family during this difficult time, a Go Fund Me account has been set up on their behalf.