Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up

Last week I climbed Stone Mountain with Evie and Holden while Lila was at school. It had simply been too long and I needed a distraction. As we reached the home stretch Evie so badly wanted to give up. She told me her legs couldn't take it anymore. She told me there was no way. She told me I would have to go the rest without her and pick her up on the way back down. Upon eventually reaching the top she saw many other very fit people exercising. One woman was doing yoga. A very loud trainer was barking orders at his crew of five that had clearly had enough. Some were running, many were chatting, and even more were just trying to catch their breath (myself included). Next thing I knew Evie was doing this...

And Holden was doing this...

After Evie finished her lengthy exercise routine using her legs that almost didn't make it this far I told her we had to do one more thing before heading back down. I explained that today was the day three years ago when she was Holden's age that Poppy passed away. I told her since we were so close to the heavens I thought maybe we could try blowing him a kiss. So we did.

I told myself a long time ago that my conversations with my kids about my dad would happen in a natural way. Evie won't remember him unless it's based on what she's heard us say. Lila remembers every second of every day and still brings him up on the regular. Holden....well, someday Holden will learn that the connection between him and my dad is something that mends my heart a little every time I look at him. But, overall I just want to talk about it with them when it feels right with no pretense or forcing it. So Tuesday that's what I did. I blew kisses with my tender hearted little girl.

What I felt the most that day is how far I've come. At one point I truly believed that a loss like this was a plague on my life. I was sure it would never leave my side. I was sure it would continue to suck the life out of me until I could no longer take it. But I've taken it and taken it and come out the other side. It didn't leave. I just learned how to take the pain without suffering.

The stress and the weight of things used to be debilitating for me at times. This is one of the reasons I worry about Evie and the heaviness of her feelings. I know that intensity and the way it settles in your skin and makes a home there regardless of how much you fight it. And yet, for the first time in my life I feel free of it. It's so cliche to say, but I now know how short life really is. I know what I'm missing without him here. I also know that what is here with me right now is all I will ever need. If there are gifts given by the universe in the midst of grief, this is the greatest one of all. 

I know this song is wildly popular right now, and for good reason. The lyrics alone make me want to memorize the whole thing and sing it to my kids every day. If I could just figure out how to replace "Let It Go" with "I Lived" all would be right in the world.

*post title pulled from the lyrics of "I Lived" by One Republic


  1. This is my absolute favorite song ever, Jana. And as much as you miss your dad, always know that he lived. He might have done things that contributed to his demise, but he lived. He loved life and he lived it. If we live life in fear of death, we survive. If we live life anxiously anticipating the next day, we live. No matter how long or short life is, it means nothing if we didn't live it and love it.


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