I do have a choice

I met a woman at IKEA yesterday, she walked up with a smile and introduced herself as someone who follows along here, and after a quick hello in the check out line we parted ways. 

It turned out we had parked three cars away from each other, so in the parking lot we talked longer - more meaningfully. She is an incredible woman, doing incredible things, and she had started the conversation saying I was the one who needed a pat on the back. 

It made me think of the first time someone told me I was “so strong” for getting up each day, for going forward, for turning my loss into others learning. And I remembered how incredibly angry that remark used to make me. I couldn’t believe someone’s shortsightedness would allow them to think I had a choice in living my life after losing my son, to think I had a choice in putting one tired & broken foot in front of the other, and I would silently hate them. 

Until I started realizing that I did have a choice. 

I do have a choice. 

I would never have made that realization if I hadn’t been told how strong I was, when I was at my absolute weakest. I wouldn’t have had the realization that I wanted happiness, if I hadn’t sat in darkness for a very long time. I tried my best to give up. I tried my best to be swallowed up whole by grief - and somehow, I’ve turned into someone who welcomes the awkward conversation. 

How terrible & wonderful it is that through my families tragic loss I am meeting others who inspire & uplift, like this new friend yesterday. She’s someone I would have spent my life not knowing, but instead we hold things in common. A few years ago her comment would have boiled inside of me, no it makes me grateful for a life where I meet people just like her. Im not trying to preach a bright side to everything, to me, that would be foolish. But I do believe that if you’re open to some sunlight, a few rays will start shining in. 

Some of you are so tired from your struggles. Some days I am, too. But if sitting down in the murk of sadness isn’t working for you... just try and stand up for a minute. You might be ok.