People keep telling me how strong I am, though the truth might be more accurately reflected in this quote, spoken by a grieving father to his stillborn son...
"Forgive me when I cry [...] Occasionally, I can't help it [...]
"Forgive me when I don't cry [...] I can't help being happy because it's my nature [...] know that I'll never forget the seven and a half months of joy you brought us."
(From the book Knocked Up, Knocked Down by Monica Murphy Lemoine)
The truth is, I'm not strong, or at least not stronger than any of you. A lot of the time I'm sad and angry. I have at least one or two good cries every day - the sobbing out loud, wiping my runny nose on my arm, almost can't breathe kind of crying. I wake up and go to bed with an ache in my heart. I often go through the motions, numb from the pain. I want to hide somewhere safe and stay there.
But that's only half the story. Every morning, I get out of bed early. I eat breakfast. I shower and make myself presentable. I find things to do, things that make me happy. I go to yoga, I make crafts, I read. I meet up with friends. I drink lots and lots of tea. And I still smile and laugh. I do these things because human nature is to go on living, because my nature is to be happy, because I'm grateful for this life.
I'm grateful I get to experience all the beauty and love in this world. I'm grateful for my husband Alex, always. I'm grateful I finally decided to let myself fall in love with him. (I'm grateful Alex was so patient and persistent.)
I'm grateful for all the friends and family who love me and support me. All the people who never get tired of hearing about Anya, who never hesitate to wrap me in their arms and fill my heart with warmth. All the people who write to me, knowing I compulsively check for new messages, needy for hope and love.
I'm never going to be as happy as I used to be. I will never have that same assurance that everything is going to be okay. I will never feel so perfectly joyful and satisfied that everything in my life is as it should be. To paraphrase a friend, I am Kayleigh + Anya now and a part of me will always be missing.
So instead of striving for greater happiness, I've decided to experience more love and compassion. I've decided to share more kindness and to give more generosity. In this new life of mine, I will spread as much love as I can to those around me. Because love always grows, even as happiness waxes and wanes.