I think, more than anything else, finding some kind of joy/happiness/contentment/acceptance after loss is about an adjustment of expectations. As I've written before, I'm not so good at adjusting my expectations. And I know many of you feel the same.
It seems to me that happiness also requires optimism. I really think it does. It's not just about enjoying an isolated moment here and there--although that's where it started for me. It's also about being able to look toward the future without wanting to vomit and then curl up in a ball and cry your whole life away.
I don't think you can have happiness unless you have some hope, unless you're brave enough to look forward and think that brighter days are on the horizon, even if they don't look the way you had once thought they would. Hope felt out of reach for me, for a long time, because I was (am?) so reluctant to "settle" for what life had to be without Eliza.
These days, I'm trying not to be afraid of hoping, the same way I'm trying not to be guilt-ridden about the happiness that gives life some flavor again.
With that idea in mind, I introduce you to another addition to our hallway gallery (and my new favorite stationary--I ordered a set of note cards and then framed one of them):
The more I read it, the more I believe it to be true.
P.S. Thank you so much for your nice comments and e-mails about Eliza's portrait. It means a lot to me to be able to share her portrait with you, and to show off what a gorgeous girl she was.