I’m tired of being sad.
Maybe it’s because I am alone so much now (or, well, alone with a baby and thus without much in the way of company). Maybe it’s because I don’t have too much to do with myself anymore apart from dishes, laundry and diaper changing. But whatever it is, it’s become much easier for me to sink into a default vaguely sad mood than it is for me to focus on the happiness, hope, health and healing that I want to.
Happiness, hope, health and healing are all well and good but I can’t ignore what it is I’m trying to heal from. And really, I have to ask whether healing is even possible. One of my closest friends lost her mom a few years ago and she described her first year of grief as feeling like there was a dark cloud cover over the world. For me, it feels like there’s a huge hole in my heart. Like there is just a gaping hole there in my chest that bleeds all over the place from time to time. It’s been nearly a year and I’m used to having a gaping hole in my heart now — oftentimes I can actually feel it — but it doesn’t always mean the pain of it has gotten any easier. No matter how much I fill my life with happy things and try to focus myself on joy — no matter how much I run, how much yoga I do, no matter how hard I try — it won’t close the hole. Nothing can.
There is just a great longing that will never be satisfied. My challenge is to somehow find happiness and joy despite that longing — not to try to override it. I am learning how to live with the longing, but it’s hard.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
It’s a constant temptation for me to pretend that my search for joy is actually a happy one. But forgetting what is behind, straining toward what is ahead, and pressing on toward the goal are not fun things to do.
This is my parents walking along the beach in September 2008.
There is a lot about this summer that I’m not looking forward to — not just the anniversary of the day she died, but the anniversary of the last day I saw her when she still looked healthy. The day I saw her and knew something wasn’t right. The day we got the call. The day after we got the call, when I went to the hospital with her and the reality of what was happening began to sink in. Those two weeks. The day I found out I was pregnant. The last weekend we had with her — then those surreal first days after, the funeral, the interment, the coming back home and trying to resume life. The endless emptiness.
I’m trying to figure out how to get through the next six weeks without succumbing into that same immediate, all-encompassing grief. Life is different now and I want to acknowledge that, and I want, as always, to be looking forward. I just don’t know how to do that — and sometimes it feels so false.