I'm OK. Really, I am. It's neither pretense nor a lie to say I'm OK, because in every way that I'm conscious of, I feel fine.
Nearing the one-year milestone, we've come through many "firsts." The biggies were, of course, the holidays--Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Throughout all these milestones, I've been amazingly fine. No one could have been more surprised than I how easily we glided through these landmark days. I dreaded the holidays for months, and then when they arrived, I actually found myself enjoying them. Not without a few tears, mind you, but I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy them at all.
Today, we come to another milestone. Thirty-seven years ago today, in the middle of a snow storm, Dennis carefully and anxiously drove me to the hospital where after just a few hours of relatively easy labor, we welcomed our daughter into the world. We named her Jeanette-- "God's Gracious Gift." I remember it like yesterday.
Exactly three weeks from today, we'll reach another milestone, the first anniversary of her heaven-going. I try not to recall or dwell on the details of that day, even though I'll remember it forever.
I'm OK, because I choose to be. I set my mind on the positive, the hopeful, the good, and I focus on that. But... beneath the surface... grief continues to flow from my heart like an underground river, not as visible or as noticeable as in the early days, but ever present.
As I was lying awake a few nights ago, staring at the clock as the minutes ticked slowly by, it dawned on me how grief takes its toll. Whether I'm conscious of it or not, my body keeps track of the exact expenditure of energy required for me to be "OK." I started thinking about all the ways grief affects me that I'm not necessarily conscious of.
At some point during the holidays, I started feeling kind of rundown, like when a cold is coming on. Then, just days after the new year began, it hit me. Boom! Pneumonia! I've never had pneumonia before in my life, and it took me completely unaware! I don't think it's a coincidence that, in the weeks leading up to her birthday,my body has been fighting sickness. To say I'm OK is neither a lie nor pretense, and yet.., physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually, grief takes its toll.
The grief journey is an adventure no one would choose for themselves, but once finding ourselves on this road, we press on. Sometimes it's a desert. Other times it's a dark and tangled jungle. We come to milestones and pay our toll, but all the while, I choose to view it as part of the great adventure called Life. God never promised life would be easy, but He did promise to always be with us, and yes, He IS!
I'm thankful for God's presence with us and all the many friends and family we have who journey with us. You all make it bearable. More than bearable! Life is a blessing with surprising, amazing moments of love and laughter and good times, even on the toll roads. With God, and family, and friends, I can truly say, we're OK, and that's the honest truth.
Sara Faith Nelson
Sharing the journey, because, I find there are so many others making the trek through life without a loved one