Eighteen …

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Kahlil Gibran

Today should be a day of celebration, but I am finding it hard to find reasons to celebrate. My husband is very cynical. Being raised by elders in his family, he sometimes has the “grumpy old man” mentality. I used to find it funny. Now, it makes me sad. But today, I understand. After losing someone so precious to me, it is hard to find the joy, day after day, in life. And please don’t tell me “live for yourself, live for Tyler, blah blah”, because honestly that is not what my grief is really about. My grief started the day that Lauren was diagnosed and I will carry it to my grave. My grief is not only about Lauren’s death, but also the friends I have lost along the journey. My grief is about what she will be missing out on. And it is about the suffering.

A birthday letter to Lauren:

My beautiful baby girl,

I woke up at 5:51am this morning. In Texas, that would have been the exact time you were born. Did you think I would forget? I know you have kept a close eye on me because I feel you all around, especially when you take over the radio. I still cannot believe that you are not here on your 18th birthday.  This last year has been full of heartache, watching your friends start their senior year, go to homecoming and prom, and graduation coming up. I am so sorry that you are not here to enjoy this with them. I know that you keep a close eye on them as well. ❤

So tonight, for your birthday, we are going to see Pitch Perfect 2 and tomorrow, a murder mystery dinner. I took three days off, so its a weekend of celebration! I also have a session planned out for a new tattoo, memorializing your beautiful face. I know you will be so excited when you see it. I’ll probably eat lots of Taco Bell this weekend and promise to find joy wherever I am and to #lovelikelola every single day. Without you in my heart, I would never be able to do this. Ly.

Arrivederci bebe

The quote above has so many different meanings to me. I have seen both emotional and physical suffering first hand. I never really knew what it felt to “die a little inside” until the day she took her last breath. The emotional fog that has followed the last two years has been nothing short of self preservation. I almost never lose it in public anymore. It is when I am alone that memories come flashing in. I find solace in nature but the overwhelming sense to cry is always there in the back of my throat. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

She would be happy that Jim and I are finally finding love again. It was a difficult four years. Somedays it is still a struggle, but we manage, together. We are making time for each other and making plans for our future.

If you are reading this, it means that Lauren has touched your life in some way. Please honor her memory. #LoveLikeLola every single day.