Today’s been a hard day. The days seem to get harder as we approach Christmas. Today, I just couldn’t shake my sadness…nothing I did seemed to move the weight from my chest. I cried. A lot. All the way home from work in fact. I knew that as I headed in to pick up my sweet boy from daycare, that my eyes were puffy, and everyone I came in contact with could tell that today was not a good day. And I didn’t care.
I forced myself to take a brisk, winter walk in one last feeble attempt to move this heartbroken energy. It worked…somewhat. It gave me time to reflect. A year ago, life was so full, with life…with kids…with caregiving…with stress…with grief…with the insight that death was looming near. This year…it feels so empty. It feels so hard for reasons that are completely opposite. But that extra space in my life…it’s so necessary. It gives me the freedom and the space to have bad days. To have days where all I can do is cry. Days where I can be angry and sad and happy and grateful all at once. I just want to tell you something here…it’s okay to feel. Feel all of your feelings. Let them course through your body in whatever way they need to; wracking sobs, silent tears slowly trickling down your cheeks, anger burning in your heart, or a brokenness so deep you’re not sure you’ll ever feel whole again. Because it’s in these moments…these raw, real, pain filled, moments that we learn how to live a little more. That we learn how to heal bit by bit. That we learn how to move through life, to keep on living, even despite the deep pain of our loss. It’s in these moments that we learn how powerful it is to honor our feelings, to let them take their course, so that we can move forward, so that we don’t remain stuck.
As I was on that walk, where it was too cold to risk tears freezing to my cheeks, I witnessed the wonder of my 7 year old boy. Running through icy, frozen snow…laughing, and hooting and hollering the whole while out of pure joy. I was reminded that this boy meant the world to my dad. These wonder-filled moments were what he lived for with this kid. They shared so much together…so much laughter…so much spoiling….so many snuggles…and if I’m honest…so much ICE CREAM! And so, despite the hardness of today, I find joy in the little moments of living. Joy, quietly laced between the loss and the grief. And I know that my dad would be proud of me for finding that little sliver of joy today. I know that he would be proud of the fact that even though I wanted to curl up in a ball in my bed as soon as I walked through the door, that I chose life instead. I chose to push through and take time to shed tears in front of my son, and to tell him that I simply miss my dad for a million different reasons, to show him what grief looks like, but also to show him that we keep moving….we take the time for ourselves…we move even when we don’t feel like it…and when we do….joy awakens within us…right alongside our tears, sadness and loss.