I spent some time last night looking over my Facebook posts, going back about a year or so. I desperately miss that lighthearted, relaxed, untroubled girl who delighted in her sweet daughter, posted all kinds of articles for discussion, obsessed over college basketball, and poked fun in a good way at the world’s many incongruities. But I know that I am not that girl anymore—she died the day Hudson did.
A little over a year ago, these two kids, Kevin and Jill, got married. I have no idea who they are, but when the video of their wedding processional went viral, I actually cried when I watched it. What could this possibly have to do with my grief, you ask? Well, when I watched it a year ago, I was so moved by what seemed to me like a joyous celebration of love, friendship, and community. I thought back to the most joyful times in my life, and each included those three important elements—love, friendship, and community. The most significant ones were the day I married Ed in the midst of a small group of cherished friends and family, and the day Hudson was born and the weeks following, when we introduced her to a world that she would change forever. Although Ed and I had both suffered very sad times before we met, it seemed to us that the world shifted on its axis when we found each other—we believed that our future would be filled with many, many exquisite moments of joy and that the worst times in our lives were behind us. We were so right. And so very wrong.
Today, for no reason at all, I thought of that wedding video and those kids dancing gleefully down the aisle. I watched it again. And I cried again. This time, I cried for different reasons. I cried for our devastating losses—of Hudson, of the future we had planned for ourselves with her, and of that carefree happiness, that unadulterated joy that characterized most of the days in the six years Ed and I have spent together. That is, until May 10, when our daughter was diagnosed with what would ultimately be a fatal illness.
So many of you have sent constant wishes for a day when we will experience joy again, for a day when you can come to the blog and celebrate with us, instead of only grieving with us.
I know that day is out there. And I look forward to it, too. But there is some dread mixed into that anticipation as well, because experiencing joy means taking a big step away from the grief. And right now, the idea of taking a big step away from the grief feels like taking a big step away from Hudson. And that makes me incredibly sad.
But the reason I wanted to write about Kevin and Jill, whoever they are, is that when I watched that video again today, I cried not only for our loss, but also because I realized that although that carefree girl I once was is gone, love, friendship, and community remain. Love, friendship, and community are constant. Love, friendship, and community will not let us fall. Until that day when we can experience joy again, those three things keep us afloat. And that is One Good Thing.