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Birthdays, Grief, and Gratitude

Once you experience a significant loss, special days don't seem quite as special. It's hard to get into the spirit of holidays or events when you are no longer able to share them with your loved one. And that brings me to my latest confession: I officially hate my birthday. November 20th lost its magic once my mom passed away five days before I turned 38. I spent more birthdays with her than anyone else; even as an adult, she'd accompany me to various restaurants so that I could cash in on the dozens of birthday freebies I'd managed to collect. So, yeah...definitely not the same anymore. As much as I dread the day right now, part of me is working SO hard to not always feel this way. I have to remind myself that even in my sadness, there is still so much to be thankful for: -My faith in God has increased and sustained me over the last year. I trusted that He would carry me through this time, and even though it's not always easy, He has definitely graced me with the strength to endure. -My husband and children have been patient and AMAZING. I'm so proud of how my children have found their own ways to cope with a loss that has greatly affected them, too. I was never selfish enough to think that I was the only one hurting, and because of that, we are able to get through tough days together. -Our home, which is a blessing all by itself.

-My friends (from besties all the way to social media friends) have supported me in so many ways that I become overwhelmed just thinking about it. -My mom's friends. I don't think they realize that being around them helps me feel closer to her. Those ladies have shown up and supported without question. I see why she loved them so much...she knew that they were the type of people who would honor her in death by loving on her children and grandchildren. -The gift of fashion. No, seriously. When you look good, you feel good...I had to remind myself of that when I was in pajamas and UGGs for several days at a time. -My dog. I never considered myself to be a dog person, but that furry baby joined our family at the perfect time. He's an awesome companion, and if I could just get him to stop snatching off his doggy outfits, he'd be perfect. :-) -My job. I absolutely love what I do, and the fact that I can work from home is just icing on the cake. My mom would be so impressed with that ("Well, honey hush!!!"). -The gift of writing. This blog has been such a blessing, and knowing that I may be helping others cope with loss is the real reward. One of my favorite Bible scriptures tells us that our gifts will make room for us...I am definitely seeing that and so much more! -The gift of self-control. WHEW!

Listen...there have been several PERFECT opportunities for me to spaz out and call it grief, but I'm so glad that I never allowed any person or situation to have that much control over me. I'm proud of myself for choosing to, as my mama would say, tell God on them. Besides, I'm trying my hardest to get to heaven so that I can hang out with her again, and no one is worth me missing that trip! Just wanted to update...as I completed my list of things that I was grateful for, I realized that I felt lighter that I did when I first began typing. That's what it's about- even in sadness and heaviness, still making room for gratitude. Tomorrow I will close Chapter 38- the year that stretched me- and open Chapter 39... The year that launches me. "Happy Birthday, Dear Tamika...Happy Birthday to me."


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