I had a conversation yesterday with a woman in my industry which has finally prompted me to start this blog. Yes, for those of you who've been encouraging me to "write it," thank you! But I guess I needed this kick in the pants.
I've spoken to this woman many times over the course of two years. It's always been cordial, polite, surface-level, and all business. But yesterday, I dared into the territory of telling her about my husband's death. We talked about all kinds of things, like how tragedy can test your faith and cause you to doubt what you've always believed. We talked about how to move on from something so terrible and life-altering. She shared with me her own struggles after her Dad died by suicide two years ago. But then...then she set her eyes straight on me and said - as she made a "round about" gesture towards me - she said, "We all know that this is a show." This. She meant ME - my attitude, my smile, my hope. I sat stunned. Without words. And if you know me, you know that's not my usual response to anything. Was I understanding her correctly? She thinks I'm putting on a show? She really doesn't know me at all, obviously. If I'm anything, I am as transparent and real as they come, sometimes to my own detriment. I have a real hard time hiding what's going on in my head and heart. It always shows up on my face! Or my attitude. I felt the need to defend myself. "At my core, I'm a very optimistic, happy person," I said. "I genuinely love life and like people. That does not mean than I'm not still grieving the loss of someone who is the most precious person to me, because I always will. That does not mean that I'm "okay" with the way things are going or the things I'm up against. And it also doesn't mean that I may not be in tears over a neatly piled pyramid of lemons at the grocery store in the next hour." (Oh yeah, I found my words, bless her heart.)
But here's what I wanted her to hear, maybe even for her own journey. I have a choice. I can either sit, stuck in the grief, sorrow and despair, pinning for what "should have been," or I can choose to have ANOTHER beautiful life. A hopeful attitude for the future does not erase from my heart the past twenty-nine and a half years that I had with Brian. Smiling does not mean I don't feel the weight of the loss daily. Laughing does not mean I don't still wish he were here with me right now, laughing beside me. What it does mean is that I'm choosing to LIVE. Truly live! I'm choosing to have joy, and to enjoy the beautiful things of living and the people around me. I choose hope for a bright future. I had a beautiful life with Brian. Now, I choose to live ANOTHER beautiful life!