How do you not make it to your seventh birthday? That makes no sense to me, none. A perfectly healthy baby girl dying in 32 days is something I struggle to understand every day of my life.
A beautiful friend of mine reached out this morning. She remembered how hard this time of year is for me. She remembered Melina’s birthday and checked in. I told her “I just can’t get my heart around it. We don’t get to celebrate seven.”
That’s when she said something that clicked in me.
She said “ I just shut off thinking about it. I can’t get my heart and head to agree.” That’s exactly it. My head and head will never comprehend this. They can’t agree. One minute I laugh thinking of her. The next minute I cry longing for her. One second I see an image and think “oh Weena” and the next minute my heart is in pieces. For the rest of my life my heart and head won’t agree on this one.
My brain knows she isn’t here. But my heart knows she always is. What a conflict. And truly that conflict is grief. It’s a feeling you can’t wrap your head around. I can spend my day explaining irrational thoughts, understanding anxieties and trying to challenge depressive patterns. But challenging grief is something you can’t do. I can’t make that hole in my heart go anywhere. My head can say she is okay and we are going to be okay. But my heart knows there is truth and lies in that.
As I was struggling with this conflict, I realized Melina never did. Melina knew she was dying. But Melina’s heart and head didn’t fight. Melina asked me to stop “being a cry baby” Melina asked that we adore her sisters. Melina made me see only her Joy. Melina knew more about life than I will ever know. Melina didn’t grieve her life, because all my Melina did was live. And even when she knew her time on Earth was done. Her struggle was only to make sure we were okay. She needed our heads to know she was good.
So what did Melina do for us. She left us Joy. I know Melina knew my heart more than me. She heard it beat on the inside. Melina knew my head would torture me on days. So Melina challenged my heart to always find her. Melina never had conflict because she knew the answer. The only time our hearts and head connect is when we find Joy. Because in that single moment my head laughs and my missing piece is there. That moment can be anything. Her memory, her Starbucks order, someone asking me her story, our Cheeto target bathing suit, or the moment she promised me rainbows for the rest of my life.
So this November 15th will be brutal. My head will try to fight the pain. But my heart will know I’m missing her. But if I pause for a second and see those green reflections, or think of the birthday demands she always had, or the diamond crown she wore all day. Then for that one second. For that moment of Joy it all makes sense again.
Baby girl you are always better than us. You know all the answers. You simply know no matter how bad things get, no matter how broken you may feel, just Choose to find the Joy, because that is where you live.