It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since my mother passed away. Time has flown by this year, but yet it still feels like it was just yesterday that I was getting the call that she died. But I don’t like to think about that day often, and I know my mom wouldn’t want me to either.
Instead, I want to reflect on all that this year has given to me, rather than all that it’s taken away. The past 365 days has given me a healthy pregnancy, a beautiful daughter, the title of mom, and our first home. We have had family visit us from far and near and have strengthened relationships in my life. I truly believe in perfect timing. Our new home and my pregnancy kept me very busy throughout this year, and allowed me to focus on other things other than just the intense grief I’ve been feeling. And then the birth of Charlotte changed me, broke me, but also saved me. Charlotte is the happiest and sweetest baby and she just lights up my world. I’m not sure where I would be without her constant smiles and love.
My mom and I used to say “love you more” and she would always say it was impossible for me to love her more. I never truly understood, until I had my own daughter. This love I am experiencing is the most intense, beautiful, magical and incredible love that I have ever experienced. I feel even closer to my mom after becoming a mom because I now understand all of the sacrifices she made for us, and I understand just how much she loves us.
I think becoming a mom has helped me to know that her love for me continues, despite her being in heaven. She had told me before she passed that she would always be there for me and live on through my heart. I believe that, because I feel her love radiating on me. I feel her presence when I see purple flowers randomly pop up in my yard or on a walk. I feel her presence and feel her protecting me and my family.
I’ve truly had to learn throughout this past year how to manage grief with joy. And I had to realize that it was okay to feel joyful, despite the grief. My mom would never want me to only feel sadness for her loss. Grief for me has become crying because I miss her presence, but also laughing at a funny memory between the two of us. I move forward with trust and faith that my mom is so very proud of me for all that I am doing, and so with that, I make sure that I take time to practice self-care, which as a mom is hard to do, but so important.
Find time throughout your day to put yourself first, fill your cup, find your joy. It’s okay to feel sad, but you don’t have to feel like that is the only emotion available to you in your situation. You are allowed to feel joy or excitement in other parts of your life, even if you’re grieving in another area of your life. I think by finding the joy and the light, healing comes easier. So today, I challenge and encourage you to do something that adds light to your life, despite the sadness you may feel. This will truly allow you to take time to feel the feeling you’re having, but then ask yourself what you need and what you can do to feel a little bit better, or what you can do to add light to your day or to the moment. It’s not about thinking that your pain isn’t valid or important, it’s acknowledging that you have pain but that you are still worthy of feeling joy.
Over this past year, I have had to navigate grief and joy. I often feel both on a daily basis and sometimes one overpowers the other. I’m learning more and more that that’s okay. Wherever you are in your journey, I encourage you to find the light today and know that I am proud of you, and I hope one day, you feel proud of you too.
Be Beautifully Simply You