After Samantha, I found it hard to genuinely smile and laugh.  I could make myself do it, but my heart wasn’t in it.  In my mind I was thinking, I shouldn’t be laughing, shouldn’t be happy, shouldn’t smile because I am grieving.  Because I was grieving, if I did any sign of fun and happiness I thought it meant that Samantha didn’t matter any more and that I had moved on.

I remember Raun and I went out to dinner in the Springtime and we had a long conversation.  It was then that I heard some of the most helpful words.  He told me “it is okay to smile, to have fun, to be happy.  It doesn’t mean that you have forgotten or that you have moved on or that you aren’t still grieving.  Samantha is always a part of us and always will be.  We will move forward and she will go with us.  You can still grieve, yet feel happy and joyous.”  This combination was weird for me and took me a little while to be alright with the concept.  There are times when I am happy and sad at the same time.  Yes, I am still grieving and still healing, but right now I can see the joy in the moment and the blessing.

In one day I can go from having something trigger the tears to later seeing a moment of happiness.  As the past year has gone by, there have been fewer triggers in a day and more moments of happiness.  Are there still things now that make me end up shedding tears?  Of course!  But most days I can make it through with laughter, smiling, and remembering.  I feel like the grief comes and goes in waves.  Occasionally a tidal wave hits.  I have learned to expect the unexpected.  I don’t always know when a tidal wave will hit, but the best I can do is to take them when they come.

The best thing I can do is acknowledge how I feel.  No matter the feeling-good, bad, or ugly- I validate what I am feeling and move forward.  I am taking what I am feeling and hearing to learn and grow through this process.  I still take life day by day, one step at a time.  Sometimes I have go minute by the minute, other times I can go several hours.  I have made sure, especially more recently, to have the things that mean the most to me and bring me the most happiness surround me in my life.  That means I…

  • surround myself with people who are truly there and who want to have a relationship that will grow over time.  I surround myself with those who are supportive and allow me to be me.  I surround myself with family and friends.
  • have reinvested in my interests.  I enjoy being outdoors, so when I can do something outside I will.  I have a passion for photography and have decided this year to revamp my photography website.  I have been reading more and traveling more.

Can you smile?  Yes, you can.  It is okay.  Even though you are happy, doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving.  Smile and laughter will do your heart good and help you heal.

 

What might you be feeling?

You won’t truly know what you will be feeling on a specific day until that day arrives.  Plus, moment to moment can change on you.  What is important is that you are prepared.  Be prepared for anything and everything, but try to remain flexible with how it all ends up going or could go.  Have your support with you or near you throughout the time, and be honest with your feelings.  As happy as a time of year this can be, there may be some things you are dreading.  If possible, take some time to look at and analyze those items, then create a plan.  If you need to, consider taking time away from those items.  If you can’t walk away from those items, which is okay, try to think of ways to make it easier to get through them.  There will be points where you and your spouse will feel the same thing, as well as those around you.  There will also be times when you all will not be feeling the same thing.  So, make sure you give yourself time to decompress…whether it is through journaling, going for a walk, having some alone time, or just relaxing.  Be certain to be there and be a support to each other.

I don’t know what I will be feeling leading up to the holidays and during the holidays.  I do know that I will go for walks, record my thoughts, and probably take a lot of photos.  My hope is that even though Samantha is not here with us, that I will still find light and joy in this season.  I will try to find beauty and magic in the season.  All this is possible because she is in our hearts.

So, what might you be feeling?  What is your plan?  Share below your thoughts, tips, or ideas.

 

July 2011-

   This weekend I am taking a break from sharing more of “The Story” to share my current thoughts.  This week has been quite the ups and downs.  There are some things that I am very excited about, but there are some  things that I am greatly struggling with.

   I had a conversation with Raun about his thoughts and feelings with the upcoming days.  Why?  Because July 5 was the tentative due date that we were given by the doctor.  He said he hadn’t really had the chance to think about it.  It is interesting how this sort of thing affects people so differently, yet so very similar.  Like he said, and I agree, I had it all mapped out and he really hadn’t much.  It all makes total sense.  For me, this would have been my last week at work for a while and we wouldn’t being doing things like camping for the fourth like we are.  He, was taking it one day at a time, one appointment at a time.  We all have our own way of going through it all.

   My great struggles have to do with the debate that is going on in my own mind-the I should or the I shouldn’t, we should/could or we shouldn’t/couldn’t.  I had gotten better at recognizing this a few months ago and was able to push it out and try to look at the positive of it all.  However, these have come back in full force, causing me to have to try to numb myself at work and just jump from day to day.  I have also been filled with a lot of why’s, what’s, and when’s- why us, what did I do, when will we be pregnant again.  These are all questions I know I will never be able to answer.

So, on the advice from a friend, I am trying to focus on the blessings I and we have.  I am lucky to have my health, I have a strong (very strong) relationship in which we have endured much over the years and have come out stronger on the other side, I have a wonderful family and small group of friends, I am supported in all my endeavors and have had a strong core group helping me manage through everything one step at a time, I have to glorious little kitties who snuggle and make me laugh doing my heart good, and I have my photography.  This is such a small list that will continually be added to, filling up a jar full of blessings.

I will never have answers to all my questions, and while I may feel lost or overwhelmed or a number of any other feelings I am trying to take on a different perspective from this all.  After finishing my most recent book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” I came out with a different perspective on it all.  It is taking some time and practice, I am stumbling a lot, but I am trying my best to incorporate this into daily life.

The author suggests that “the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have meaning when the happen.  They do not happen for any good reason which would cause us to accept them willingly.  But we can give them a meaning.  We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them.  The question we should be asking is not,” Why did this happen to me?  What did I do to deserve this?”  That is really an unanswerable, pointless question.  A better question would be “Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?””  When we are really struggling and lost we should try instead of asking “God, why are you doing this to me”, to ask “God, can you see me?  Can you help me?” 

 

So, in the words of my sister in law Marit “Love it while you live it…. Hug your family tight and tell them you love them – everything else is just icing on the cake”

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