Friday, February 28, 2014

The pain of choosing joy

I'm at a crossroads right now.

No longer writhing in pain I feel like I am at a point where I have a choice in which direction I can go (there are people who will read this and say 'I told you so' but two years ago there was no choice there was only survival).

The pain now is not so all encompassing as it once was. There was a time when it physically felt like my skin had been flailed by many whips and was open and raw and bleeding and the whipping continued...there was a time when I honestly thought it would hurt less to stick a knife into my chest and carve out my heart than to breathe another day without Eva. I can honestly say I don't hurt like that anymore. Yes, there has been healing. I no longer want to carve my heart out, however nor is everything rainbows and unicorns that leads us on...

I can go down the road of being angry all the time and descending into a pit of bitterness at the mighty loss of my daughter. Or, I can intentionally (and not without pain) choose joy every morning while embracing my daughter with my whole heart.  It is so hard to choose that. 

The truth is, it is easier to be sad than it is to be joyful. In normal land it is easier to be joyful than to be sad but in the mirror land where you live without your child and everything is the same and yet is backwards, sadness comes all by itself which is why I have to choose joy every morning. 

I have to choose it every single morning and even several times a day because I just miss my little girl so much and, even now, I'm weeping as I type a post about choosing joy. How backwards is that?

But. I need to get through this because I have been thinking about it for awhile now and even though I may not articulate it well I want to put these thoughts out there.  

I keep thinking about Jesus and the mighty gift of the cross that he has given to us and I know that my joy can only come through him. Eva has given me the gift of yearning and longing for heaven in a way I had no idea existed before she went there ahead of me. 

I can and will grieve Eva every day until I am blessed with death but until that anticipated day arrives I am trying to choose joy every morning.  I say trying because sometimes no matter how much I try to choose joy, the sadness is just there and I have to embrace it for a day or two and spend time fully grieving and weeping for my precious daughter who I long for so much.

And yet, I am reminded that His mercies are new every morning. And there is (at least some) joy every morning as well...

So if you see me around town smiling, know I still miss my girl so, so, so much and my joy has been chosen by me and bought with the blood of Jesus.  I have chosen joy in that moment even while pain bangs around in my heart.

I am not all better. I will never be all better but I am choosing joy. Don't judge me, and don't think I don't care about the empty spot where Eva should be anymore. Don't think that I don't know exactly where she would be sitting in our van. 

The pain of choosing joy is still better than the taste of bitterness.

The flowers Mike gave me for valentines because they were the closest he could get to sunflowers in February. Thank you Mike. I love you so much.


  1. You are a strong, brave mommy. I have loved your choosing joy posts, they always make me think of what I have to rejoice over. There is a mom in my church that recently lost her son in a car accident. I saw her smiling and thought I know that smile is chosen and I know thAt she is missing her boy even during that smile....what beauty there is in chosen smiles. Those that love you know your sweet Eva is always on your mind and always missed.

    1. Thank you tesha. I am not strong however, it is only through Jesus that I am able to carry on. I love that you know that mama had a chosen smile. Part of what I fear in choosing joy is that people will think I don't miss Eva anymore, and nothing could be further from the truth. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Beautiful post Em. "Eva has given me the gift of yearning and longing for heaven in a way I had no idea existed before she went there ahead of me." I love that quote. So true when you have a loved one who has gone before you and has gone to Heaven! I just had to make it through another one of Caleb's birthdays this week (he would have been seven) and I have been so so sad this week. Emotions have come back again and took over for a while. I know that it will get easier though. I know that as grieving parents we have to choose joy all of the time and I have found that a lot of other moms couldn't imagine what we have gone through and are inspired that we can smile after losing a precious child, knowing that it isn't easy. Your posts are real, but also inspiring to know that it is possible to survive a child's loss, with the Lord's help. Bless you and your family. ((hugs))

    1. Cheryl, thank you for commenting. I always appreciate it when people tKe the time to respond to a post. Another bereaved mum ahead of me on this journey told me that she finds as time marches on that the days get easier but the anniversaries harder. Perhaps in contrast to the relative ease of the day to day he emotional impact of anniversary days can be more shocking.

  3. Oh I so get this post, it is hard to wake up each morning and put that smile on your face knowing that your heart and arms ache for your little girl x

    1. Thank you for commenting Sally. I often think of B.

  4. Such a good post. I'll talk to you about IRL tommorow. Love you