To let life change us

my sister and me and my brotherI’ve just realized, suddenly and with a rush of hot tears, that there is no magic time when life stops, becomes stable and static, and stays exactly as you want it to.

It changes and it evolves and it takes you with it, whether you will or no.

“And what would be the point of living if we didn’t let life change us?”

— Mr. Carson, butler at Downton Abbey

I have been struggling through this latest evolution in my own life: my brother was involved in a terrible, tragic hit and run accident in 2011, and was tried and convicted just last Thursday.

My heart hurts for so many reasons.

Each time I do something that I used to do without a second thought: choose a meal at a restaurant, flip the channel on the television, take a shower when it pleases me, or spend all day with my kids, I remember he can’t do this right now.

He will barely see his daughter over the next however many years he is behind bars. (We don’t know yet how long his sentence will be.) He doesn’t have the luxury of working for a living, taking a road trip, or even choosing the brand of toothpaste he uses.

And yet, I know this pain will ease somewhat.

I won’t forget about him, but it will hurt less. My life will re-orient itself around this new set of truths, and I will go on like I always do.

But I have to confess that I have been angry over this change. I did not want my life to shift again. I did not choose this.

In my anger is a seed of truth that I need to see and honor: that sometimes, change frightens me. When my life feels that it is not in my control, not even the tiniest bit, it frightens me.

And now the truth that life does change, and never stays exactly the same, does comfort me. Because this is not frozen in time. This story, right now, is not the whole of what will be.

I don’t know what else I am learning right now. Some hours of the day I feel fine, and other hours I just want to hide and cry.

All I truly know is there is enough love for me. There is enough love for my brother.

And I do not have to bear this alone.

This post originally published at

Rhiannon Kelley
Stargazer, medium, druid, student. Activist & rabble-rouser. Married with four kids. Really fucking sweary. Genderqueer & poly. They/them/theirs.

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