Looking on the Bright Side

My mom believed that every day was a day to be celebrated.

Celebrate We Will

[This particular day was celebrating my finishing my second marathon and taking off more than 40 minutes — nearly six years ago.]

I honestly believe I’m mostly doing as OK as one can during this whole wretched grieving process. I’m going on with my live while honoring my mom’s as best I can [some really cool stuff to announce in the near future related to this :)]

This past weekend, I went back to Franklin Lakes (there, now I don’t have to say the house/their house/his house/whatever) to see my sweet dad and attend a family reunion with him. As you might imagine, these things were difficult. 

I came back to the city emotionally drained and crawled into bed to nap and let myself wallow for a while.

Sometimes friends who are like family have that weird spidey sense of when you need them, and I got a text from my best friend that she was in my neighborhood, was I home? She came over and we just sat on my couch for a long time chatting about a whole lot of things going on in both of our lives. 

Eventually, we got hungry and made our way down to Republic in Union Square, which, btw, New Yorkers, is closing? (But, hot tip, they have frosé on happy hour for $8, and it’s fabulous.)

We sat at the bar chatting, and I started telling some sad story about my mom. I’m a little absent-minded to begin with, but lately I’ve been extra absent-minded (no idea why…nothing going on here), and I stopped to catch my runaway train of thought. The entire time we’d sat there, we hadn’t noticed the music playing softly as we chatted, but suddenly Shut Up and Dance, our favorite song to dance like fools to late-night, came on.

And in that moment, I knew my mom was with me, telling me to stop being sad and to have fun.

I woke up still thinking about that this morning, smiling. I went out for a run, and sure enough, another gorgeous sunny day, and I vowed to fight hard for happiness and joy today amidst sadness. It was a hard/weird day at work, but I just kept looking for the roses among the thorns and kept thinking of the advice my mom would give me if I could call her right now.

I’d love to tell you that means that I didn’t cry after getting a sweet sympathy card from a friend’s family or after texting with my cousin, but then I’d be lying. I’d love to tell you that I didn’t start writing this post with tears streaming down my cheeks, but that would be a lie, too. 

But I’m trying to have a good cry and move on, to not let it bring down the rest of my day/night. To honor the feelings, but do my best to not let them consume me.

One thing that’s helping with that is thinking about and planning for the future. Short-term, long-term, even just thinking about planning and the future gives me glimmers of hope to think to a time when this pain won’t feel quite so raw and the future will feel a little brighter than it does right now. I’ve done bullet-journaling on and off, and I’m obsessed with Rachel Wilkerson’s new book on bullet journaling. Just reading about planning is giving me some weird peace.

I’ll take it where I can get it. 

4 comments on “Looking on the Bright Side

  1. Allie

    Definitely take it where you can get it and so happy to know your friends have that “spidey” sense. You need friends like that!
    Also absolutely love you celebrated a huge marathon PR with a cake. The best!

    Reply
  2. Cindy

    “To honor the feelings, but do my best to not let them consume me.”

    That’s a beautiful sentiment. Thanks for sharing it, and I’m glad you’ve had some beautiful moments this week.

    Reply
  3. random reader

    Hi – long time reader, first time commenter (no just kidding I once put in a comment to win some give away and did not win, obviously). Your sharing your grief has made for some very compelling writing and I hope you keep it up so long as you feel comfortable and the process feels cathartic. I can’t relate to what you’re saying in so much as I haven’t had to deal with the death of a parent myself, but your raw honesty really has me thinking about how I’ll feel and cope when my parents pass – hopefully many years from now. I also appreciate that you kept your mom’s decline private out of respect for her wishes, but I can only imagine that she’d be so incredibly proud of how you’re now sharing your experiences in a way that helps others. It’s oftentimes uncomfortable topics – mental health and grief being two that you’ve tackled on this blog – that need to be talked about more rather than less. All this is to say….I’m so sorry for your loss, and I really appreciate your sharing your experiences.

    Reply
  4. katie

    cry when you want, dance when you want. whatever you feel like doing, do it. it may not make sense, but it probably doesn’t have to make sense right now.

    Reply

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