Sometimes I just need a good cry. Preferably at the movies where I can recover easily, I might have said in the past. But a good cry should not be feared. And an opportunity to do some serious sobbing came up the other evening when a small group of bereaved parents had baked a cake, and were singing Happy Birthday to one of our deceased children. Watching the exquisite storm of gratitude, pain, and love in the mother’s eyes, I remembered that conflicting whirlwind of emotions—the joy of having your child remembered and honored, the sadness of seeing each subsequent birthday sweep you ever further away from the time you were together, and just plain missing your beloved one—This can turn the toughest of us into desperate howling messes. A similar, old familiar storm brewed in my own heart. And I welcomed it.
If you are not one of the unfortunates initiated into the hellhole of child loss, you may be wondering—Why torture yourself like that?
Strange as it seems, I never want to forget the rawness of the pain of loss. If I can recall how my worst times felt, I can listen, understand, and be of comfort to someone else. A good cry is not to be feared. In being a living human, there’s a spectrum of emotions to be experienced. I write and talk a lot about finding joy, however this is only one part of the human experience. I want it all. I need to cry. I need to dare to love.
Love makes you happy, and love makes you sad. Grief and pain are simply the residue of your love when the joyful times seem like eons away. Often, I want to hug my grief the way I want to hug and hang onto my daughter who died. Tears are tangible remains of what I have left of her now. My love pours out, and I love those tears.
“You’re happy,” a friend pointed out to me recently. And I immediately felt guilty, as in—I lost my daughter, I’m not supposed to feel happy. This simply is not right. We are human. We can experience it all.
Jolly Reds, pinks, hot lime and deep greens bloom on the Magic Carpet Spirea plant in my garden. Like multi-colored teardrops. Tears of joy and sorrow. They blossom together.