Today is a special day on so, so many levels!
Most of you know it simply as Mother’s Day.
But for some of us, it is so much more…
…a more that is equally complicated, courageous, saddening, maddening, underwhelming and overwhelming…
Though I’m not surprised, I hadn’t expected the outpouring of sharing that began after The Grief Toolbox ran my recent article Celebrating Mother’s Day When Your Child is Gone?
You can find the original post What Kind of Mother Has No Child? here.
As I read the words so many women were using to express their pain and suffering leading up to Mother’s Day, all I could think of is I remember…
I remember feeling a heart-splitting, gut-wrenching, lungs-depleting pain…but my body no longer feels that pain.
Does that make sense, Journeyer?
I remember feeling elated when I received the results of that positive pregnancy test, but I no longer feel that elation in my nerve endings…
Today, I can only remember that I once felt extreme joy or sorrow…
But the actual feelings and emotions are buried deep inside my body memory.
What remains, however, is the presence of the hope I felt when Warren called me to the front porch to see the rainbow over our land, about a week after Gavin died.
Hope is what keeps us going day in and day out, Journeyer.
Today’s post, this Happy Happens column, is about just that, Journeyer.
One of the greatest fears parents who lose a child have is the fear of forgetting, an anxiety that applies to many of us who’ve lost a loved one, especially through an unexpected tragedy.
What I’ve learned, Journeyer, is that the absence of the physical presence doesn’t mean that we can’t keep making new memories.
Even though we never knew Gavin alive, even though he was born and deceased years before Fave, Beauty, or Big Guy, he is a part of our family stories and the memories we make.
One of my favorite stories is the discussion we had about Gavin being old enough to drive, and what he’d be driving in heaven.
The first time I asked what my kiddos thought he’d be driving in heaven, Big Guy said he figured his brother would be driving a cloud.
The next time I posed the question, a year or so later, Beauty chimed in that he’d be driving a shooting star.
I had this image of my boy at the helm of a shooting star, fast and furious and oh, so fun!
Though this notion is thoroughly abstract, it is symbolic of that hope that we can continue our relationships with our deceased loved ones and that of a life that exists beyond this world.
A few months back it dawned on me that Gavin turns twenty-five this year. TWENTY-FIVE!
Simultaneously I had these other two thoughts: I decided I wanted something special to commemorate this milestone and Adrianna Joleigh came to mind.
Adrianna is a talented artist whose path collided with mine on some random social media site, where a painting she’d posted caught my eye.
I reached out to her with this crazy idea and asked if she’d be interested.
Journeyer, I can’t tell you how happy I am that she said YES! Nor can I express how pleased I am that she was willing and able to turn this family story, the one where our deceased family member is driving a shooting star, into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Look at her brilliance, Journeyer!
See Gavin astride that star?
And the other stars? They represent Fave, Big Guy, Beauty, and the two miscarriages.
We hadn’t discussed much regarding the color scheme, but what is so striking to me is the way her choices embody everything about my journey to healing after Gavin’s death…from the sea, to the spiritual purples, the reds for love and anger, the yellows for joy, the darker colors for sadness and conflict, and the pale blue hues which seem almost celestial.
I see Life captured so fully in this piece…
Adrianna is making a few changes to this piece, so the next time you see it it might be slightly different, but I am just in awe of this woman’s talent, so happy she agreed to take on the project, and grateful for her artistic brilliance…
You can see more of her work at her website; check her out! I know you’ll be glad you did.
In other happy news, Beauty passed all her rigorous exams, is scheduled to sit for her Vet Tech boards in August, and she walked the stages yesterday!
I connected with many new people, completed a little more hoeing out of stuff in our bedroom in an effort to prepare for the remodel, saw many spring flowers, and celebrated today by catching up on some stuff I wanted to do and dinner and a movie with Warren and Big Guy.
This weekly practice of recapping moments that made me smile or warmed my heart is about hope and about changing our hardwired focus on the negative.
I believe that shift will help us change countless lives, promote healing, and create a happier world…
What about you, Journeyer, what happy moments do you remember from this past week? What moments gave you hope that helped you get up off the floor during a tough time? Please consider sharing in the comments below for together we can heal a world of hurt…
Yours in hope, healing, and happiness,
I’ve seen Adrianna’s work before – she is amazing. And she has done a wonderful job Annah. What a way to bring your family together.
WOW! You’ve seen her work?! The universe is such a small place and social media makes it yet smaller!
Thank you for sharing this with us, Liv. Like Adrianna, you are a friend I hope to one day hug in person! <3