There has been a handful of moments in my life when I felt really, genuinely happy. I’m not talking about the kind of happiness that fluctuates on a day to day basis depending on what activities you have planned or people you are going to see. No, I’m talking about the kind of happiness that makes your heart sore because you are so content with where things are in life and with what the future looks like. The kind of happiness when you just pause, look around and think man…life is good.
One time in particular was in 2014 when I was nine months pregnant with Ian. Nate and I had been married for almost three years, we had a beautiful house, and I had the most precious gift growing right under my heart. I had always wanted children, and to say I was thrilled to become a mommy is an understatement. Watching Nate get just as excited as we began putting together Ian’s nursery or began talking about all the adventures we would go on are some of my most precious memories. I remember a moment in particular, walking around the house, admiring all the work we put into making our home ready for a newborn baby…Rubbing my tummy, and just thinking to myself life doesn’t get any better than this…
And then life threw quite the curveball at me.
In the months after Ian was born, I began battling severe Postpartum Depression. I struggled on a daily basis trying to fall into what I thought would be the most natural role I would ever inherit. The happiest time in my life quickly evolved into the scariest. With time, I eventually learned more about what I was experiencing and began taking the steps to get better …With Nate’s support and the help of my doctors, I made it through and gradually, motherhood not only became easier and more natural, but the most magical part of my life.
A second time I felt true happiness was in Las Vegas in September of 2017. Nate had just left to go to the Convention Center for work, so I lounged around in a big ass bathtub in our beautiful hotel room for over an hour, just thinking to myself…man, life doesn’t get better than this. We were in the middle of such a fun little getaway, just the two of us. In our normal lives, we had adjusted to parenthood, were enjoying the normalcy or marriage and our busy lives, but during that trip, we spent those days just talking, laughing, and making more plans for our future. It was just the two of us, and we had so much freaking fun. I remember how content I felt with things that day and with where life was headed for our little family.
And then four days later, Nate died.
The other day I was talking to my school advisor about the timeline I have for finishing my licensure program, and I got excited. I’m knocking out the major state tests I have to take and am really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For fun, I find myself looking at houses that would be a perfect fit for Ian and I once I’m done with school, and I start getting even more excited. Ian starts kindergarten on Thursday and he is so amped up for this new adventure…I’m starting to see things come together in our lives bit by bit and I’m starting to feel a tinge of hope for that happiness I once felt…And that terrifies me.
Confession: As much as I am desperate to feel some sort of true happiness again, I’ve come to realize that a part of me is terrified to do so.
I feel like if and when it happens, will it just be a matter of time before the other shoe drops? I want to continue getting excited about the future, but in the back of my mind is that looming voice that tells me not to get too excited because, as I learned in the most brutal way ever, bad shit happens. And just because something real bad happened in my life already doesn’t mean that something real bad can’t happen again. I’m scared that happiness may always be fleeting for me because of what I’ve experienced in losing Nate and in my widowhood…How is it possible to feel true happiness when you are worried something bad is bound to happen again? Will there ever be a moment I sit back and feel content with my life without worrying about another tragedy or life altering event shattering my world?
Nate’s death showed me that life is short. It showed me that nothing is guaranteed and that at any moment, anything is possible…good and bad. It’s a balancing act trying to remember all of that while also trying to not allow that knowledge negatively impact the excitement I feel as I venture further into the life I am fighting for everyday. I know that’s no way to live, and I know worrying about the possibility of bad things happening again does nothing but chip away from the happiness that I know my son and I deserve.
I’m a work in progress guys…I wish I had more answers as to how I get better at balancing my worrisome ways with the excitement and happiness in my heart that yearns to see the light of day again. Like with everything in this life, I assume it’s something that time will hopefully allow me to sort out. Until then, all I can do is continue moving forward and allow myself to feel each and everyday…to feel all of it. The moments of happiness, excitement…worry and reservation…sadness and confusion…And understand that it’s all apart of this new woman I am becoming. Tragedy and loss show you the frailty of life…But I have to remember that if anything else, that knowledge of how short life is should empower me to pursue that happiness even more. So I’m going to continue to try..and I encourage anyone reading this to do the same. There’s only so many things we can control in this life, and the power of choice, I have come to learn, is one.
So tonight I’m going to choose to get excited that I’ll be done with school next year. I’m going to choose to be happy that I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going to choose to hope that someday I’ll find sustainable, true happiness again…that I’ll feel confidence And strength in that happiness. And I’m going to choose to try to not sweat the small stuff nor let that gloomy voice in the back of my head convince me that something bad is bound to happen again. And I guess that’s a cycle I’m going to have to repeat each and every day until those choices become more of a second nature.
Until then? Just gotta keep choosing.