“Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead.” – Frederick Buechner
The lack of finality in what I assumed would be a life with my daughter, has left me feeling a little sad these days. As graduations are celebrated this time of year, I am quickly taken back to a time when I envisioned my Brittany walking up to get her diploma. Yet what happened in reality is that myself along with her father walked up to receive an “honorary” diploma because Brittany died before her graduation. It is not suppose to be that way.
I also envisioned Brittany living out a life that may not have been what most parents hope for. Her disability would have had an impact on her life; however I also know she wouldn’t have let that stop her from accomplishing anything she wanted to do. Despite multiple setbacks and roadblocks Brittany lived a life that no one could deny wasn’t filled with joy and happiness. She took full advantage of the life given to her not knowing her days would be very short.
I have learned a great deal from how Brittany lived her life. I think it some ways she made peace with her illness. I know she would question why God chose her to let her have epilepsy and crohn’s disease, however those moments of feeling sorry for herself were short-lived. She made peace with what had been given her despite the many periods of her life that were turbulent. Even in her last remaining months one would have not known she was getting progressively worse. She refused to let it get her down.
So when I look at how her death and the absence of her in my life, I have to look at how she managed her day-to-day life and understand that by making peace with what happened I have an opportunity to make something good out of it. To pursue a life with peace that can lead to happiness. As I sit here writing this, I still find that to be a concept hard to visualize. Happiness after such devastating loss. Multiple losses each individually impacting my life differently. It will always be a work in progress for me. A couple of steps forward a one back. That is how grief works.
I want to walk out of my door each and every day with a smile on my face and to experience life full out just like Brittany did. I talk to her a lot about that. I pray often that she helps to guide me there. To this place of peace, even in the midst of turbulence, to find a place each day when I can look back at my day and know I took every opportunity to experience life fully. That is one of the many ways I can honor her life. She did it so well.
Loss can be transformative. It can be life giving. It can help us move forward. That transformation begins with acceptance and ends with peace. A journey that will likely take the majority of my life but I am determined to find a way there. The path to peace should be our desire for it will allow us to grow into our new destiny for the journey that lies ahead.
Until next time,