Many of you will remember that last week I tried out group counseling. I have been pretty adamant about pushing past my comfort zone and going to counseling because I've never faced anything this daunting before and I know that I need help working through what I'm going through. Last night I met one on one with a grief counselor and it went really well. It was another "good hard" type of situation. It was good because I was really able to talk to her about how I was feeling but it's hard when you are one on one because you really go there. There's no luxury of hiding out behind others and no reason to be anything less than yourself. Here's the thing with losing a loved one-you really have 2 choices of how you will respond. One way to respond is to hold so tightly to the pain of your loss and allow it to impact you in a way where you are not moving forward in your life and you are stuck in that place of pain. I understand people who that happens to, I truly do. It's not easy to move forward and the thought of staying in a protective bubble is so tempting. The the other option is to understand that you have but one life to live. And no matter how painful it may be you will find a way, some how, to live your life with joy and to the fullest. This option is not easy because it involves taking lots of risks and really opening up yourself to the possibility of more pain. After going through such tremendous pain already it's hard to think of enduring more. Still, this second option is my plan. I am in my early 30's and am relatively young. Lord willing, I still have a lot of life ahead of me. I don't want to spend the remaining years of my life stuck in a grief so great that it consumes every part of me paralyzing my ability to have any semblance of joy in my life. So I am very consciously making the decision that my son and I will definitely grieve but we will grieve and gather our strength at the same time. I asked my counselor what I should be doing in this season in my life. She told me that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing which are these three things. #1 Allowing myself to go through the grief, the pain, and the emotions. Keeping myself stable and making wise decisions. Basically in my own words not going off the deep end. #2 Journaling (which is what this blog many times is) and using our story for a greater purpose to touch others. This is hugely important to me. And #3 is very the basics of getting up every morning, getting through a work day, taking care of my son etc. These are all things that "normal" people do on a day to day basis but these are also the simplest things that are so hard to do while in the midst of grief. If you are grieving these are 3 very practical things that you can do to try to work through it. Something I'm learning is you have to go through the pain. You can't skip to the end or skirt around it because then it will just manifest in other ways. You have to go through the pain, no matter how hard it may be, to get to the other side. This week has been 6 weeks since losing my husband. I have really started to feel, very much so, the aloneness. Everyone has gotten to go back to their normal lives and I don't have my old life to go back to. It's been hard. I don't think most people realize what a long process grieving is. In their minds it's been a few weeks and life moves on but I still find myself standing among the ruins of my life many days thinking "what now?" I would be lying if I didn't say that this is one of the hardest parts.

Every couple of posts I thought I would attach a some of my old pictures of Joel and I. I love looking through them and thinking of the memory attached to each of them. This one was from 2 years ago when Joel was just about finished up with his first year of chemo. We couldn't get out of the house much so any time we could it was a special treat. Something that we both love is snow cones and it's always a big deal to get our first "snow come of the season" usually in May. This picture was taken with our first snow cones. When I look at this picture I see the excitement of almost being done with chemo and remember how much happiness was involved in just the simple pleasure of doing something that we used to do before life got so hard. Even the smallest of things were so much fun because I was with my best friend and my love. I was so blessed. I am still blessed.