I have noticed that everytime I have sat down in the last few weeks I have wanted to start my posts with, “this has been so challenging.” The last few days, the next week, the next month is challenging. Everything seems to be a challenge. Tonight I stopped and realized maybe that is my new forever. Maybe things forever will just always feel more challenging. Everything feels one step harder. New is hard. Old is hard. One of the greatest pieces of my life was taken too soon. So yes things have been and will remain challenging.
These next two months I won’t even say will be challenging. From now on I realize challenging is a given. So these next two months cause a lot of reflection. I am flooded with memories. Memories I don’t want. I don’t want to relive those days of the ER, the conversations with the doctors, the zoom calls, the masks, the hell. The fact that the month of May is pediatric brain tumor awareness month. And right at the end of that month my Melina was diagnosed with the most deadly brain tumor. And there I was living life completely unaware of the tragedy that would shatter me.
This is where I realize memories are now a double edge sword. I don’t get to pick and choose what memories to carry with me. My brain does that all on its own. And trust me I try to refocus. I try to stop it sometimes. But that is hard. Because I don’t want to wipe it out. I want the miracles of my Melina. I want her whole story from beginning to end. I want every second I had with her. Because she was that amazing.
So as challenging as memories can be, they can also save me. They save my heart from this new world and remind me what life once was. All the pain floods right in and so does all the Joy. It truly puts me in the crossroads. What path do I choose, the pain or the joy? Sometimes I am not perfect. Sometimes I fail to choose the Joy because somedays I just can’t.
It is on those most challenging days though that I see her most. In my friends. In my supports. In my girls and even in strangers. It is in the moments where I just ramble about her to anyone because I have to survive. When I talk no matter how silly it seems about her. I am choosing Melina. I am not choosing the pain. Which means I am fighting for the Joy.
And when that happens people start sharing back. They help me make new memories. They help bring her in my heart. They remind me of what she is doing. Or a total stranger reminds me of what Melina has done for them. How Melina makes us all better. They help me make new memories. Memories where she is present again. They remind me that as long as I talk her story isn’t over.
In those moments, filled with tears and challenges, I find Joy. That is my forever crossroad. If I stop and see the pain I lose Melina more. I lose her again and again. But if I talk about her I can feel her. I can find the ability then to Choose the Joy.
My Melina gave me the gift of choices. I couldn’t stop a brain tumor. I couldn’t change the pain. I couldn’t fight for her. I couldn’t make her better. But I can choose her everyday. I can choose to share her. I can choose to talk to a total stranger about my beautiful baby girl. I can choose to fight through all these challenging days. I can choose to seek the memories that were truly her. I can choose Melina’s Joy.