Hello, hello! There isn’t really any reason for my absence this last week; I guess I have just felt like being quiet. I never want to blog just for the sake of blogging, so I haven’t had much to say. But things are good — better than I anticipated they would be considering this time of year, actually.

On Thursday I went with my family up to Quantico National Cemetery where my mother is buried. (She was a Navy veteran.) I went into the day expecting it to be difficult and emotional, and it was, but in a more cathartic way than I thought it would be. Instead of despair, there was a lot of hope. We are secure in our knowledge that she is Home, and we anxiously await the day when we can be reunited and no one will take away our joy. We had picked up balloons on our way there and before leaving the cemetery, we released them up into the sky toward Heaven.

It could have felt contrived, but it didn’t. Instead it felt like all my grief, all my despair, all my clinging to the past, my guilt over not being a perfect daughter, my wanting to turn back time — they all went up into the air along with the balloons. It was letting go of this past year and accepting that a new life has begun.

I thought of Scarlett O’Hara in her mourning gown, and how she didn’t want to wear it for an entire year. I would have, if we still had mourning garb today; I wanted the world to know I was set apart in my grief. But one thing I’ve learned in this last year is that I am not alone: I am not the only person in the world who’s ever gone through this. Of course, I’ve known this intellectually all along, but more than ever now I understand that other people have done this too. Other people have found ways to live full, happy, joyful lives alongside their grief. Grieving never ends, but I think for me, mourning needs to. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life thinking various iterations on this isn’t right, it’s not okay, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be — NOTHING is how it’s supposed to be in this fallen world, and I need to start training myself to accept that. That it’s not okay, but this is life now. I don’t want to live in the past while forsaking my future and ignoring my present. I need to take off my mourning gown.

I think I’ve said before that I feel like I understand my mom so much more now that I’m a mother myself. When I think about what I want for Will, like any mother I just want him to be happy. I think my mom would want the same for me. The thought of Will being unhappy for years on end or spending his days bowed under grief just destroys me inside — so as my mom’s daughter, I don’t want to live that way either. I have been striving for happiness for months now, and I see it on the horizon — I just need to keep running toward it, this time without looking back.