I’m honored to be a part of a new series about living post loss on ScribblesandCrumbs.com. Please follow the link at the end of this post to learn more about #OnComingAlive.
I didn’t fall in love and then become happy again. My story is deeper than that. I used to believe my happiness came from my relationships. It took me losing my husband to understand that happiness comes from within. Once I understood that, love came knocking again.
In my early twenties, I fell hopelessly in love with a man who never wanted to hurt me. Our love was strong and pure, despite the many obstacles we faced. In our naive state, we believed that we completed each other. Our life together was built in such a way we didn’t think we could survive unless we stayed together.
Then cancer came and took him away, despite his will to live. My heart shattered into a million pieces and I somehow had to go on without him.
I was forced to start over and learn some difficult lessons. It sounds silly to me now, but there were so many things I never had to know when Scott was alive. I didn’t know anything about health insurance; how to mow a lawn; or even my favorite coffee order at Starbucks. These are a few details that I allowed Scott to take care of that I had to learn after his death.
Last year, in my second year of grief, I fell into the darkest place I have been. The loneliness was my cross to bear. Guilt ravaged through my mind and poisoned my body. At times I believed that grief was my punishment, especially when I compared my current life with the couples around me. I didn’t love him enough. I was not thankful enough. I wasted our time together. God sent me grief because I deserved it.
I was wrong. One night last spring, my daughter began to cry, despite the fun family day we just had. “I miss Daddy. Why do I have to miss him forever? I’m too young to miss him the rest of my life.”
“Why did God want my dad?” my son asked shortly after.
In a rare moment, both of my children cried for their dad that they miss and love. One child was given eight years with him, the other six. Both have few memories of his health, and too many of his illness. They were also give the cross of grief to bear. They didn’t deserve it.
In that moment, with my two crying kids, I knew I was living a lie. I had to break free of the chains of grief or I would possibly waste my life, my precious time on earth. Scott, of all people, would never want that for me.
“Grief is not my punishment,” I reminded myself over and over.
For the rest of 2015, I made it my mission to find a small piece of happiness everyday. I chose to walk out of the door of darkness and into the light of life, even if it was just a few moments a day. I chose to find laughter, light, and life. I no longer deserved this darkness, so I was willing to fight and fight and fight until I could break free of the chains.
Light, lead me to laughter. Laughter brought me happiness. Happiness helped me find more light; light allowed me to live again. I became my best friend, instead of my worst enemy. I learned to accept my life the way it was each day. I learned to enjoy my own company. I practiced gratitude through tears, laughter, stress, and frustration.
After months of deliberately working on living, accepting my life, and being okay with this cross of grief, I found myself entering into the second chapter of my life. That is when I fell hopelessly in love again.
Falling in love didn’t bring me back alive. I chose to live, and then love came and found me.
I’m excited for the #OnComingAlive project by Lexi of Scribbles and Crumbs. Please read my story of how I Chose Life.