I remember very vividly about this time two years ago. My husband and I were sitting in our living room, watching some mindless evening television program, discussing our monotonous work days, and trying to be optimistic in our somewhat dismal existence. He looked up at the photo that hung over our entertainment center.
The photo was one of the three of us. Our sweet threesome, on the beach, sunkissed, all smiling at the camera, enjoying just being together in our traditional vacation spot, maybe two months before our sweet baby’s fatal diagnosis.
As we sat there admiring the photo, still in shock and disbelief, having only been stuck in our grief for mere months, my husband said something I will never forget. He asked a loaded question. One that had certainly plagued me since we said goodbye to our angel, but neither of us had ever uttered aloud. He said, “Do you think we’ll ever be that happy again?”
Honestly, no, I never thought it would be possible. There was no way, no chance, no miracle on Earth that could occur to heal the hurt of this loss that would allow either of us, alone or together, to ever be that happy.
And even worse, the odds and facts, were against us. Couples like us, who have lost children, suffered trauma, been through the heartache and pain we suffered, typically do not survive. They grieve differently, they suffer immeasurable guilt, they hurt themselves and they hurt eachother, in the aftermath of grief.
The simple answer was, no. We would never be that happy again.
But happiness is a complex concept. And if you dig deep enough, work hard enough, open your heart, your mind, and your soul, it turns out, happiness can be defined in so many different ways.
I will always be unhappy that my sweet angel is not physically here with us to grow and learn and feel the love of our family here on Earth. But the strength we have gained as a couple, as a family, as a team, is a happiness that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
This grief has tested us and bruised us and beaten us to points we thought were unrecoverable. But every time, we have conquered, we have risen, and have beaten the odds.
We may not always be happy. And we may never reach the same kind of bliss that appears in that photo. But what we have achieved over the last two years makes me happier, and prouder, than any one brief moment captured in a photo ever could.