The last few years have taught me a lot about what it means to deal with grief.
And let me just tell you, I don't handle grief well.
Over the last few years I have lost loved ones really close to me and with each one, I have had a lot of regrets.
Maybe maturity and growing up means you start to feel grief on a much deeper level.
If so, then maybe I have finally grown up.
Or maybe I am just realizing that all we have is this moment - right here, right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year but just this moment right now.
I thought about how the last time I saw my grandmother. I think I barely hugged her bye, thinking I would see her soon. I never did.
Last year, we lost my brother-in-law unexpectedly in a car accident.
I miss our weekly phone calls and sometimes, I still expect to see the familiar number on the caller ID when the phone rings.
Last year, I almost lost Mama and it shook me to my core.
I was gripped with fear at the thought and felt hopeless.
I was barely able to catch my breath after she got home before my uncle got sick.
The fear of losing him crippled me again.
"I feel like I am living in a state of fear all the time," I said one day. "All I do is worry. I miss being younger when I didn't have to worry all the time."
My younger years had not carried this grief and worry.
But life is funny in some ways.
As life has taken me through all of this pain and loss, it has also thankfully brought some people back into my life.
And you know what I realized?
We all were hurting.
We all had experienced some tremendous grief or loss or pain.
We all were carrying a lot of grief in our souls that we carefully hid or chose who we displayed it to.
We were all a little bit different. The same person, but the loss had changed us.
It reminded me of how a rock is gently, subtly shaped by the river. The rock is just there in the river, holding strong to where it is and as the river flows, it gently softens those rough edges of the rock, making it smoother, softer and takes away what isn't needed.
That river will never be the same again that flows over that rock, and the rock is never the same again. But at least it hasn't been broken by the river.
Smoothed, changed and not the way it was before, but it wasn't broken.
Life is just happening around us like that river.
We are in the midst of it and the flow is changing us.
Some of it is really hard to deal with at times and the best thing we can do is just sit still and let it all pass.
Eventually, the flood of the pain and grief slows down some and things level off a bit but it's how you held your ground while in the river that counts.
I've been trying to be more focused on the moment than dwelling on the past as of late; and the future will take care of itself somehow. It always does.
What I've learned about life?
Thankfully, just like the river, it goes on.
Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."