After Matt died, there are things I thought I would never say or do again. I thought I would never smile again. I thought I would never laugh again. I thought I would never dream again. I thought I would never again say "Good" in reply to the question "How are you?" Yet I found myself saying just that this week. For a second, I was surprised at hearing myself say it even. It never fails to surprise me at how healing takes place almost without my realizing it. It never fails to surprise me now how grief and joy can, and do, coexist.
It feels so good to have more good days than bad now. I never thought that would have been possible a year ago or even four months ago. Grief is always there, but not so intense now. Another grieving mom, Corinne, describes it this way, "Life is only shades of grey for a long time....color returns very slowly." It's so very true. Life turned black the day our son died, but ever so slowly, light is returning again.
The death of my child has forever changed me and I never would have thought it possible that some of those changes would be good. For one thing, I find myself no longer afraid to do things I would have never done before. The knowledge that life is short and our days our numbered was solidified because of my son's death. As a result, I don't necessarily believe in a "bucket" list anymore. I refuse to "wish" like that. If this life is short (and it is), then I am going to do my best to see that those "bucket" list items are fulfilled. I want to make them realities now in this life, while I can, instead of just dreaming about them. It's been a good thing. I have already "crossed off" two items on the list! (Cake decorating classes and a digital photography class) I also wrote a children's picture book about two years ago and am now actively pursuing getting it illustrated and published.
I don't believe grief will ever leave, just like an amputee never gets his/her appendage back. What they do, however, is learn to live without their limb. They will always look down and realize the fact that their limb is missing. But the pain of losing it will lesson and they will learn to live without it. It is a harsh, painful reality that leaves a terrible, horrific scar, but with the LORD's help, one can live again and find joy in living. Hope has been painted in on the canvas of my life by the Artist. Hope in God and the knowledge of His great love towards me are the prosthesis to my loss. I never thought it would be possible to experience such unspeakable grief and live, live with joy, peace, and hope.