Sunday, March 11, 2012

Here's Hoping

I still have a lot of mixed feelings about that word: happiness.

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.


  1. I agree, happiness requires hope. Even in my darkest times after Camille's death I hoped for hope because I knew what it meant if I had it...

    It is different, I think, when you have a living child because it is hard not to find happiness and joy in their existance. Be grateful for the life that is still here. I think this really saved some of my sanity. I HAD to continue to look to the future because I had someone else to hope for and live for and love for.

    That all being said, when it comes to a pregnancy after loss, We would not try for another if we did not hope for a better outcome. is hard to hope because when we open our hearts to all that potential love, we know what is to be lost as well. It is a fine balance to keep hoping and not closing our hearts in fear of the worst.

    I hope for you and me and so many other mamas. I really do.

  2. I agree with you and Renel both. It does take courage and hope to move forward toward a new kind of happiness. It also takes acceptance to realize and be ok with the fact that it is different than what we originally wanted.

  3. I'm still digging around for that courage and dealing with so much of that guilt. I love this print. It's a nice reminder. ~Lindsay

  4. Yep, agreed. Happiness is about choosing, and I also think it's about accepting it. You know the kind of happiness that surprises you after loss? When you're walking through another day of surviving and somehow your brain oozes out this moment of vibrancy amidst the storm? I feel like accepting that moment came before choosing to be happy again in the future. And I think one sort of begets the other and so on and so forth until one day you're feeling pretty happy, without having to accept or choose it. At least that's what I hope. :)

  5. Just catching up, so read this post and your last. First & foremost Eliza's picture is beautiful! She was such an incredibly gorgeous baby and she looks so peaceful in that picture!
    Love the picture you had framed and the message and so glad you're beginning to feel more hopeful yourself!

  6. it's not until you go through something as devastating as losing a child when you really understand and appreciate the fact that happiness is a courageous choice made every day. before Julius passed away happiness came to me so effortlessly. i always remember thinking how lucky i was. so much so that i said to a good friend a few months before he passed that i thought something really bad was going to happen to me because i had been so lucky my whole life.

    these days happiness comes a bit easier because of our girl. but it is still mixed in with so much pain and sadness because we are missing out on so much with our boy. :(

  7. So true mamma.. I am trying so hard to remind myself of this day by day. Hope, hope, hope.

  8. I love that quote, thanks for sharing!

  9. Wow, Brooke, love that print. It just makes me happy looking at it! It totally has to do with courage, and it is a choice. I've had a lot of people tell me to be "happy" this pregnancy, because it's what's best for my baby. Most of the time "happiness" is a little out of reach on a day-to-day basis, so I settle for calm and hopeful. The small moments of happiness, though, are amazing, and so unexpected, when they come.