My son told me something the other day, something that shocked me in its dual simplicity and complexity. We were talking about Thanksgiving and the holidays in general and I was trying to convey the idea that even though the day will be sad and we will miss Jason, it doesn't have to be a day of abject misery. I was trying to convince myself more than him. He turned to me and said "Mom, it's just a day. We've been living everyday without Dad."
He is right. Every day brings a reminder. Every day is difficult. And every day, we find joy and happiness and we keep on going. To steep ourselves in sadness and wallow in what is missing is unhealthy. It blocks out what we have learned from this, belittles the everyday struggles we've overcome. It would be easy to settle in bitterness and see our lives only through the lens of all that we have lost... and doing that, it feels like the worst possible way to honor Jason.
I am so thankful that I had him for as long as I did. I am thankful that my children had a father who loved them enough to teach them how to be practical, resilient and to see the bigger picture. I am thankful for his love and all that he taught me. I am thankful that he respected me and believed in me... even when I didn't. I am so thankful that I got to care for him and comfort him as he left us, that I got to be his hero when he needed one the most. I am thankful that most days I wake up greatful for each new day knowing that, despite it all, I am strong enough to keep going. I'm thankful that I know what real love is. I am so, so thankful, even in my grief and sadness.