Hurting Hearts

Today, my friends’ hearts are hurting, and mine is hanging low, feeling only a fraction of the pain they are all feeling. Last night, a woman described to me as vibrant and always, always bubbling over with joy, unexpectedly met God. As anguishing as it is to write, so did her 15 week old baby tucked inside her womb. Her husband, also processing his mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis, will now be a single dad to their little daughter.

What was supposed to be one of the happiest times in this couple’s life did a 180 degree turn in a single afternoon. A moment of physical pain gave way to collapse, coma, and finality on this earth within a few hours.

I imagined this husband waking up this morning with the grief and unbelief capsizing his heart and soul in the first moment of light. Then, I realized how silly I am to think he even slept for a moment last night. I imagined him trying to explain to their little daughter that mommy will never pour her a glass of milk again, or tuck her in and read her bedtime stories. I questioned the logistics of navigating everyday life now (whatever that is) aside from the sorrow – going to work, playing at the park, doing laundry, and so on.

I imagine my sweet friend, 37 weeks pregnant, trying to enjoy this miracle time in her life without her bubbly friend. I imagine how she is going to turn this tragedy into compassion and appreciation. My hurting heart goes out to her as she and her husband process their overwhelming grief in the midst of their strongest joy, balancing polarizing emotions in the same breath.

I have never met this woman and, until this afternoon, had never even seen a photo of her. But, along with everyone else touched with these events, I cannot begin to comprehend what this means for her community. Her family will never be able to know how many people will pause, say a healing prayer, and will join them – even for a moment or two – in their sorrow.

Today, I pray for Renee and everyone she has affected with her too-short life. I send out nourishing energy to their souls and – with the knowledge of my own journey through the grieving process – stand tall with them as they begin this long and truly never ending journey of missing their girl. It’s not easy, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but – if you let it be – this grief and her life can be transformative for your spirits. Let her life serve the purpose of enhancing yours – not only with her memories – but with the lessons she gives you now and tomorrow.

The New Okay

I’ve been noticing lately that I am…okay. I can get through the day – and maybe even the week – without grieving Adam. I miss him, I think about him, and I remember him lovingly, but that heavy sadness that has plagued me hangs around less often. This is the new okay. 

I am okay if we never have a biological child. I am okay if we do and our adoption plans get postponed. I am okay if we have to wait three years to bring a child home. I am learning not to make too many demands on life, but how to still remain hopeful. I think this was always the master plan for this stage of my life. I needed to let go of my resume – whether professional or personal. I needed to learn that deviations from the planned path are not failures. I needed to learn that strength and beauty come from great loss.

There is something else that I’ve noticed, too. Although I do not think I am a jealous person, it has been emotionally exhausting to expense joy and celebration for others. Don’t get me wrong; I have true joy that bubbles up and out of me, and I am so thrilled for my friends and family in their happiness and positive turn of events. But, after the celebrations, I have to retreat and find rejuvenation. I have to come to terms with the reality of my own path at this time and renew acceptance. Each joy celebrated gets easier (my breakdowns or “comedowns” get less dramatic), and I need less time to re-energize. I just never knew that was part of the process until I experienced core-trembling loss. I am doing important “soul work” as my aunt and spiritual mentor says…and it’s hard, yet refreshing at the same time.

I trust that, as the moon keeps fading in and out of the hours, the new okay will turn into the new fabulous/stupendous/couldn’t be happier. I am my mom’s “Life is Wonderful” child and I have faith that I am making small steps to regain my place on the kitchen counter, making chocolate chip cookies, and delivering that phrase to her and all my loved ones who know my joyful and mischievous spirit.