I think I've settled into the new "normal" of living with grief.
This past year has been intense. Starting off with learning how to function, then moving into a pattern of a few good days mixed in with a few bad days. Learning how to have relationships again. Learning what is important. Figuring out that faith is messy, hard, and without answers. Then came periods of "good"- days when there really aren't any sad thoughts, days that I can look back at Joshua's life and smile, then expecting just a few bad days to arrive and just needing to let them come.
These days, there are more good days than bad days.
It's a comfortable pattern of living each day, knowing that most days are good, but sometimes they are sprinkled with moments of sadness.
It's knowing that for the most part, there is joy, but there will be moments when the sadness hits and I just have to let it come.
This weekend was a perfect example of living with joy but letting the moments of sadness have their way and then moving back into that joy.
This time last year, I was in Seattle visting a very special friend. A dear woman who walked her own journey that was, and continues to be, very similiar to mine.
It dawned on me that at this time last year, I was just learning to function. I was learning how to get out of bed and learning to carry the burden of losing a child. I look at how far I've come, and I have nothing but gratitude. Life isn't as hard as it was just a year ago. It still hurts, but the pain is not pulsating and overwhelming anymore. I have reason to continue to live and move forward. I have joy again.
But there are moments of sadness. This should have been Joshua's 2nd Halloween. We should have been pushing him around the the stroller while his brother and sister run from door to door trick or treating. We should have been watching him help color ghosts and pumpkins to hang on our widows. He should have been getting messy with orange and black frosting while "helping" decorate Halloween cupcakes.
However, he's not here. His life is a memory. I see him in his brother and sister. I imagine his hands would look like Caleb's hands. His facial expressions would look like Hannah's. His personality like his daddy's. It brings sadness to face the reality that I will never know who's toes he had, or what his voice would sound like, but it brings comfort to know that he will NEVER have to face another surgery, procedure, or sickness ever again.
I'm thankful for the sadness that accompanies the joy. I'm thankful that I have more days of happiness and peace than days of suffocating sadness. I'm thankful that I've reached a point of understanding and peace. Living with the joy and sadness has become normal, and for that I'm thankful.