I've looked at life through a whole different point of view since Ayden passed away. After losing Ayden, I became very guarded. I was scared to love..fully. To put my whole self out there again. Because, what if I did, and I lost someone else. Then, I began to realize - in this life, there is loss. Period. And there's nothing I can do to stop it. All the more reason to approach life and loss with hope....doing your best to muster up all the hope you can find amidst the pain.
When October rolled around and we had gotten past the 2 year mark (August 25th), I began to look at the coming holiday season with more joy than I had felt in the past 2 years. I was hopeful....looking forward to finally experiencing a somewhat "normal" holiday season. One of so much happiness....so much joy....new perspective. Then, October 21st reared its ugly head. And it all fell apart all over again.
BUT....because of our loss, I have approached the loss of my Dad much differently than I expected. At first, I was completely torn apart. I felt so lost....so down....I begged God to take me HOME...."take me to Heaven because I can't do this anymore....I can't go through life constantly waiting to lose something/someone else." Then, I began to think about my Dad and how he would approach this. How he would tell me to treat his death. My dad would be more upset with me if I continued to dwell...continued to focus on the loss...because that would mean I wasn't focusing on the joy he is experiencing right now. The joy that is to come when we meet again. After we lost Ayden, he was the only one I would really listen to. I've always valued my dad's opinion and advice (well...except during my teenage years....because when you're that age you "already know everything" right? But even then, I did consider what he was telling me...), and I know that he knew I needed him. He knew I needed his sound advice....even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear. And yes, there were times when I was frustrated with him because I didn't understand how he had been able to move forward (or seemed to), but he did it because we all needed him to be strong for us...to hold us up...and he knew we needed a hopeful perspective. And...that was my dad. Always hopeful....because there's no reason we should live this life without hope.
Over the past few weeks, I've struggled. Today was hard. But I didn't show it. As I've said, I've kept this loss more private. I'm not sure why. In a way, I guess it's my way of sharing my pain with my dad....in the moments when I'm alone with my thoughts and memories....alone with his words, laughter, smile, and wisdom running through my head. In those moments, I'm with my dad, and we're sharing our time together...just the two us....moments which were so very special to me. That's when I break down. I was determined to approach Thanksgiving with a grateful heart. I don't want to be angry and bitter. I just want to live with hope. To me, letting myself get bitter and angry is letting this world win....because I would be clinging to this world, this life, a life that is going to pass away and is not guaranteed to any of us. This is not my home, and it is not my son's home...or my dad's home....this is not where I will spend eternity with my God. That doesn't mean I'm not sad or hurting....because I am. So much. I was doing okay today until Jeremy's uncle hugged me - he's about the same height and stature as my dad. When he squeezed me....and held on....my heart broke. I have missed that more than anything....to be in my father's arms was the safest I ever felt. And now, I realize I have a heavenly father who wants me to look to Him for that safety and security....He wants all of my hope to be in Him. I'm so glad he understands our hurt and our pain and our questions. He can take every angry moment or bitter blame we throw at him. He knows our sorrow, but He always knows where our Hope should be, and I am determined to give him all of my hope.
Aside from all of the loss we have experienced these past 2 years - Ayden, my Dad, and just last weekend....my sister's dog (you might say, "It's a dog." But Paisley was more than a dog to all of us....especially my sister. She was there for my sister at her lowest moments and she was our hope for my sister during those times....her absence is felt greatly!)....I still have so much to be thankful for. I have lived a blessed life - A savior who loves me unconditionally, wonderful, Godly parents who I credit so much for me being the person I am today, for the values I hold, and for my faith, a loving husband who adores me, two beautiful boys with bright blue eyes who have made my life complete, a sister and a best friend all in one, wonderful family who love me and have shown me what family should be, a supportive and compassionate church family who never fail to amaze me, friends who have stuck by me through it all, a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear....every basic necessity, and nothing but wonderful memories past, present, and to come, and most of all....hope for a future with no more pain, no more tears, and a reunion that is beyond my imagination.
And while I certainly don't like the circumstances that have been allotted to me, and I would never have greeted them willingly, they have given me a new perspective....a new focus. And for that, I am grateful.