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The beauty of the human experience is the breadth of emotions we encounter and endure. From the most joyful of moments to the most devastating, it proves that we are alive. There are few times in life that truly bring joy and devastation together, perhaps because it’s difficult to hold everything at once. 

On October 15, 2022, I said, “I do,” to forever with my best friend, Cameron. It was the most beautiful day of my life. We laughed. We cried. And we danced the night away. 

On November 3, 2022, Cameron’s father, Bryan, passed away. It was a devastating and heartbreaking day. We clung to those close. We cried. And now we’re caught in the aftermath of processing and “moving on.”

“Both mourning and gratitude are daily necessities to lead a healthy life.” -Pam Winthrop Lauer

In the wake of joy and grief, the worst thing we can do—to ourselves and others—is simply, “move on.” I’m not even sure if there is such a thing. The vows and promises I spoke to my husband seem to suggest the opposite. They ask a much greater empathy from me than just discovering how to get past the hurt. For better, for worse. In sickness, and health.

Honestly? This has been the greatest learning curve of my life. Uncovering how to be a wife each day that brings both excitement for the new and pain from loss. It’s confusing and frustrating. But I’ve also never so intentionally pursued emotion, both the happiness and the grief. 

Perhaps the measure of how well we’re doing isn’t by how much of the “good feelings” we feel.

Humanity, fully living, is more about experiencing all that life entails—the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful. Though exhausting, I’ve never felt fuller at the end of a day than now when I get to laugh and cry with Cameron every day. Feeling everything, and giving those feelings the time they deserve, honors the very person or situation that brings them about in the first place. And I want our marriage, Cameron, and Bryan to be honored

The greatest realization through this is knowing that, for the rest of our lives, each of our joyful milestone moments will also come with a deep sadness for the fact that Bryan isn’t here with us. That is the reality. I want to feel the weight of all of it, alongside Cameron. I want to fully live. That’s what Bryan would’ve wanted. And I can’t wait until we get to see him again to catch up on everything he missed. 

When it rains, it pours. 

Showers of contentment and showers of adversity. They say life is a dance. I pray we all learn how to dance in the showers of good and bad, gain and loss, gratitude and mourning. 

One Comment

  • Krista Braymiller says:

    What a love letter you’ve posted to both Cameron and his dad. As Tuesday next week, and the 3rd Anniversary of my Dad’s passing, approaches, so many memories are brought to the forefront of my mind. We often talk about him at dinner time at our family home–his ashes are there in the cabinet with us. I look for and note when I see red cardinals as they say that “When cardinals appear, angels are near”. Seeing those birds comforts my heart; dad had an affinity to their birdsong and would whistle it back to them in our backyard.

    With tears steaming down my face I say Thank you for this gracious and caring read. I pray for Peace and Comfort for your family’s grief.

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