This October 6, 2018, I will celebrate Grace’s 26th birthday. But, I will not be celebrating with candles, cake or sweet birthday wishes. I will celebrate her birthday by remembering her bubbly smile, her huge heart, high heels and gaudy earrings. I will celebrate her “bigness”. Although she was short (one of her favorite tees stated, “I’m fun sized!), in my heart and on this Earth she lived LARGE!! And, when she died, she left a massive hole in my heart and life.
Most days, I try not to miss her, but rather, remember her. I can think of her and my heart is filled with wonder, joy and the promise of seeing her again. But, on the days I find myself missing her, I am overcome by profound sadness. Does that describe adequately how I feel? No. There is no way to explain the depth of my dissatisfaction of her death, or the wretchedness of my Being with the reality of her absence. There remains an epic battle within me to fill the sad empty hole of “missing Grace” with love, light and happy memories of “remembering Grace”. On these difficult days, it is easy to imagine myself sitting in a sinking boat in the middle of the ocean. I furiously work to dump buckets and buckets out of the boat, only to know deep within my heart the same water is destined to come rushing back in.
The heartache and fighting is gut wrenching. Which brought me to the question- Can I Overcome This Sadness? Optimism would joyously scream, “Absolutely!!” Pessimism would murmur, “Absolutely Not!” And a person whose heart is weighed down by deep love and extreme sadness is caught between the war of both debatable truths. Severe, intense sadness that does not evaporate with the turning of the sun or find hope with the changing of the moons is a hard journey to navigate.
When I’m with my other three children, I revel at the highest peaks of joy for their successes, hopes, dreams and future. I make sure I laugh with them, enjoy their adventures and listen with love and compassion when they confront and share their fears with me. And I love them with all the width, breadth and height my heart can muster. The stark contrast of devastation, loss and anxiety I feel when I miss Grace tears me apart.
The trivially simplistic answer to my question would direct me to just not miss her, shut that door and don’t enter. “If you want to overcome sadness, then don’t be sad. When those thoughts come, simply think of something else”. But that tiring statement and mindset, quite frankly, makes… me… sad.
There is nothing wrong with being “profoundly sad”. And I shouldn’t feel guilty or less than when I find myself sitting in the middle of the ocean of grief. For my heart knows the height of utter bliss, happiness and joy, as well as the darkest abyss of mournful sadness and grief. For me, both are needful and good. So, to answer my question- Can I Overcome This Sadness? the answer is yes, maybe I can, but more importantly, why would I want to?