Today I had to share. Because today something happened. Today my brain played a new game. With grief there is no game plan. No steps. No order. No “okay I’m better.” It’s always adapting. Grief becomes a way of life. A way that you live, yet missing a part of you that you can’t describe.

Often times I think of the loss and I focus on that. The forever. I focus on missing her forever. And I hate it. Just absolutely hate it. And often I think how did we end up here? How do I explain this to people? How do I say I have three girls but only two are on this earth? How do I get them to understand how alone this feeling truly is? it’s a crap club and it’s not the same for any of us. Because there is and always will be only one Melina.

So tonight after the holidays I was taking down my tree. And it’s hard, it’s all hard. You think of the memories …vacations, princesses, preschool ornaments. As I boxed them up panicking because they are irreplaceable, I took a step back to see the ones left. It was then when under all that pain I smiled.

Everywhere on my tree, and I mean everywhere, was the word Joy. That’s it three letters ALL over my tree. And you know what? I didn’t buy one of them. They were the most beautiful gifts from the greatest supports. They were presents from friends of friends who wanted me to have them. Some from strangers who just felt I needed it. They are perfection. But then I realized that was Melina. Prior to losing Melina no one ever bought me a Joy ornament. But now seeing Joy people see Melina. In those moments Melina isnt defined by a brain tumor. Melina isnt defined by her death. My baby girl is simply defined as Joy.

I will never get another homemade ornament from Melina but I did get the perfect cheeto ribbon Joy heart. And that is a gift. So tonight my heart was different. Tonight it ached a little less. Tonight I realized I will forever share that only two of my beautiful girls are with me on this earth, and one will always be with me forever. That reality doesn’t go away. But tonight I was reminded my beautiful baby may not physically be with me. But I can find her if I simply Choose Joy. 🌈💚🌈