2019 here we come……

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of the year again. We are finishing up a year and looking back at our highs and lows. We are also gearing up for a new year. The idea of a new year takes on a different meaning when you have lost a child. You have that sense of dread knowing that it is once again another year your child is not a part of. It’s one more year you have to work, struggle, and climb that mountain so that their memory is staying strong. 

It is also another year of opportunities. I will have 365 new chances to tell people about Drew. 365 more days to show people that his memory matters. Drew Alexander Lighthall mattered and will always matter while I have breath in my body. I plan on finding “joy” in telling people about Drew. I will find “joy” in growing Smiles. I will find “joy” in the everyday moments in my life. 

Joy will be my word for 2019. I will embrace the joy that being Drew’s mother gave me and still gives me. When the idea of the word joy coming into my life I felt like it was a paradox with the idea of grief. What I have found out that for me  to survive this journey I need to be able to find that joy deep inside me, the joy I buried deep when I lost Drew.  I will feel the pain of losing Drew to my core but he would want nothing more than to know that I can still feel his love and know that I will have Joy once again. The pain will not go away but I am hoping that I can remember Drew with more smiles to my face than tears in my eyes. I am sure that there will be many time that I will have both at the same time.  

Grief and Joy are like the ultimate Yin/Yang. To have the chasm of grief that you have with losing a child there will always be the joy that they were and are yours. They will always be with you.

“The more unfelt grief we carry, the less we are able to feel joy.  And because we often turn away from our grief in the pursuit of more joy, it follows that trying to always feel joy has the exact opposite result.” https://theunlockedheart.com/blog/2018/2/12/the-yinyang-dance-of-grief-and-joy

I challenge you to choose a word for the coming year. Choose a word that maybe you need to keep reminding yourself to do more, be better. To all those that are grieving remember it’s ok to have the joy with the grief. Celebrate the wonderful people that were in your lives, celebrate that you were honored to have them and experience the joy. 

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14 Days of Joy 2017

Sometimes the worst part about an anniversary or date coming up is the days before the actual event. Last year I was dreading August 5. It was going to be 1 year since Drew died. I got the idea that if I took the 2 weeks before the actual date and do random acts of kindness and spread joy, it would help me fight off that feeling of despair with his death date.

The girls and I  along with a friend or two did a great job. We took flowers to nursing home, gave water to people waiting out in the hot sun, passed out colorful balloons for no other reason but balloons are fun! I think in some way it did help make that One Year Mark a little easier.

I thought to myself that I should make this a yearly event. Use the 14 days before the anniversary to spread joy, kindness and love. I make “inspiring” graphics for each day and then I plan what act of joy I am going to perform. My hope is and was for people to follow suit and post their moments of joy, their random acts of kindness in memory of Drew. That part hasn’t exactly gone they way I was hoping but as they say there is always next year. Even though my plans in my head have not gone the way I wanted I have faith that what I am doing is letting more people know about Drew.

There are so many ways to bring joy to people. Drew knew that best way to do it was a simple smile and “how are you today?”. You would be surprised about how much that can touch someone’s life. They may be having a really crappy day, week, year, or even at the moment feel like a lifetime of bad days. Having someone taking the time to interact is priceless.

I would love to be able to do all that I have in my mind to do for Drew. Unfortunately,  my time and wallet don’t agree. So I will keep spreading joy they way I can. I will still tell people about my Drew and try not to worry whether anyone else is doing it too. I will hope and pray someday more people will know about 14 Days of Joy and more people will know about Drew.