Today is our youngest daughter's 1st birthday.
I wish Jason was here to cheer with me at those wobbly first steps that she took yesterday. I wish he could see her rapidly changing into a toddler. I wish he could hear her say "bye bye" and laugh as she waves with her sticky little fingers. But he isn't. I gave myself an hour today to be sad about it and then I chose to celebrate what I have. And for the rest of today, I'm celebrating her and our LIFE.
All of this sounds like just phony "inspirational" talk, even to me. But it really isn't. I really am walking the walk. I have had to retrace my mental and emotional steps to figure out what got me to this mindset. And here is what I came up with, to the best of my ability to explain it.
The first few weeks after Jason died, I just got out of bed because of my girls. I had to keep moving because they needed me. To feed them, to dress them, to make sure I could keep the roof over our heads, and dare I say to play with them and make things as close to normal as I possibly could. God prepared me for this. He gave me those reasons. I owe step 1 to God. I didn't do that.
Then somewhere in the midst of going through those motions, I realized that I had to keep this up for the girls. I had two babies who still have a whole life ahead of them! I cannot let them down. I cannot let them "die" with Jason. I mean, I couldn't allow death to rob them of even more of what they deserve.
Then somewhere in the midst of reconfiguring things for the girls' sake, I started to realize I deserve that, too. I didn't die. I survived. Again.
Something about life being taken from my family made me want to take as much back from life as I could. I started to see all the helpers around me. I saw how blessed I was. Things started to look brighter. I think they call that "hope". I thought of all of the people in the world who would gladly take my spot, even with all my circumstances, and do more with it than I had been doing. I started thinking of all the ways I could make my life better. All within myself and my own attitude. I woke up wanting to do more than "survive". I wanted to thrive.
I'm still working on thriving. I look for the positive and try to push negative and ungrateful thoughts from my head. I see people I care about. I take people up on more offers. I laugh. I talk about Jason openly. When I see my friends who still have their moms and their husbands, I may get jealous for a moment. But then I remember that I have a gift, disguised as a curse, that they may never have, or may not have for a very long time. A different perspective. Even though I have lost 2 of the most important people in my life within just 2 years, I have learned some things about life. It wants to be lived. There is nothing broken about me. I can live as fully, love as deeply, and laugh as hard as the best of them. As long as it's what I want to do.
You will never see a Facebook status update from me whining about my circumstance. After all, everything is so much better when you worked for it.
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." -Helen Keller