Is there anything worse than crying in the middle of a really beautiful day?
I’m talking about a really beautiful day. You know what I mean. Those perfect days, where the temperature is just right and there’s fun music coming from over the neighbor’s fence and you can smell someone grilling? The kind of day that we all live for – the kind of day where you say, “Isn’t it great to be alive?”
I used to have that feeling a lot. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said that exact phrase, “Isn’t it great to be alive?” and truly meant it.
Now I just feel grateful to be alive, which isn’t really the same thing. I am so grateful for every single day on this planet. I know that life can be much too short and I know I am lucky that I have three perfect kids that give me the strength to continue on during the days when it feels like too much.
The thing about grief is that it’s sneaky. Some days, I barely cry at all, or at least not in public. I manage my grief well on those days. But then, in an instant, I can find myself in tears at an amazingly inappropriate time. A time when no one else is even remotely sad. Of course, when this happens and I have others around, they are always lovely about it. They are supportive and they are kind. They are my friends and my family and they know it is okay – and it is normal – for me to feel this way.
But it’s disruptive to the flow of everyone’s day to see the young widow crying under perfectly blue skies. It would be much better if things like grief could be scheduled, or at least could remain dormant when things were otherwise great.
Of course, that’s impossible. Grief shows up when grief wants to, and sometimes that’s in the moments that Shawn would have really loved. Late afternoon barbecues on perfect spring nights, for example. Or early morning baseball practice on the weekend. Or even on a run with friends at the park.
I do not know when this type of grief will fade. I only know that it is with me now, and that sometimes it comes when I least expect it.
Please know that if you see me crying as my kids frolic in the pool, I haven’t lost my mind. It’s just that grief is with me in that moment.
But so is Shawn.
Image Credit: Stefanie Harrington Photography.