It’s no secret that my life has been pretty full of grief lately. I’ve lost my mom, my health, and my first child within the last three years. Despite all of that, I find joy in life. I get up and go to work, I hang out with friends, I smile and laugh daily, and overall, I live with love. Yes, of course I have down times, and of course I live with lasting effects of being a griever. I have bad days and bad hours. Seeing babies makes my heart drop. Yet, for the most part, here in month 10 after giving birth to my Jonah, I’d call myself a pretty happy person.
Actually, let me take that back for a second.
I really dislike the word “happy”. Nobody is happy all the time, and that word is so arbitrary. What percentage of your day do you need to be happy to be considered “happy”? Can you really be happy when you’re standing in line at Target, annoyed at the woman in front of you who suddenly whips out a checkbook and takes precious, unnecessary seconds to write out a check? Or, even driving to work – you’re not necessarily “happy”, but you’re not sad either. Would you not call yourself happy then? So, instead of using that word, I much prefer the word “content”.
Living a life of contentedness when I’m without my mom and my baby isn’t easy, and there are definitely some days when I don’t get there. For the most part, though, I’d say I’m content in my day-to-day life.
Here’s how that’s possible:
I fill my life with passion.
I’ve never been good at waiting for things. When I decide I want to do something, waiting is excruciating. For this reason, I’m also the type of person who starts things and doesn’t finish them. That’s another story, though. What I’m trying to say is I act on my passions, and it’s these passions that make this life into one I can love right now – one that keeps me content.
In grief, my passions have definitely morphed and moved around, but I work hard (thanks to my therapist) at letting them be whatever they are at the moment, without judgement.
For instance, I’ve loved books my entire life. So, in the beginning of 2016, I decided to launch a book blog. I go through a lot of ups and downs in the amount of time I put into reading and blogging (especially during Jonah’s life and death), but it’s still a passion that I go back to all the time. Reading expands my mind and my heart, and allows me to escape to another world.
After losing Jonah, my passions exploded. Really, that’s a good word for it. I wanted so badly to become a resource for other grieving moms. I needed to help them somehow, to lessen their pain while dampening my own, to be a lighthouse in the darkness for them. It’s during this time that I launched Courageous Mothers and began writing in earnest on Letters to Jonah, and I became incredibly passionate about supporting and writing.
Through it all, I’ve also stayed passionate about loving my husband. He and I are always hanging out with each other, loving each other, and supporting each other through our hard times and happy times. He really is my partner in crime.
I’ve always been the kind of woman who lets passion run her life. I’m not shy about going for whatever it is I’m passionate about, and I really believe that that quality has helped me through grief. I love writing, so I’m taking a writing class. I love reading, so I’m still working on my book blog. I love helping loss moms, so I’m doing things for them through Courageous Mothers. I love baking, so I’ve been making sweets and breads. I love dogs, so we adopted a puppy.
My secret to happiness in grief is passion. It colors my life with a rainbow of love and meaning and contentment, even though I don’t have the one thing I want the most.