Happiness. The world tell us two things: 1) You can’t be sad anymore and you must feel happy now. 2) You can’t be happy because it means you didn’t love your child enough. Neither is true and yet both can bring an immense amount of guilt. Guilt that you can’t make yourself happy in those early days and guilt that you have found that happiness again long after your loss.
I think we are keenly aware of the first myth. You simply can’t make yourself happy in the first weeks, months, and year after your loss. Each year, usually during special days, you feel that sadness. Sometimes that sadness is more than just loss, it can be depression hanging it’s hat on your tipped head. The sadness can make us feel guilty. We worry our grief is causing others to be uncomfortable or worry about us or that somehow we aren’t being a good partner to our spouse or mother to our children. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t open your memory box without tears. It does get better. I promise.
That brings me to the second myth…. Happiness. One day your guilt will come from it. You will feel guilty for life moving forward. You will feel it for smiling when you think of your child. You will think it when you open your box and memories and smile at the good times you spent with your little one. Don’t let guilt ruin that moment. Do NOT let someone tell you that being happy means you didn’t love your child. That couldn’t be more from the truth. Love isn’t always measured in tears.
It is okay to feel happy. We have to be happy someday. Sometimes that happiness will be bittersweet. Appreciate that you can think of your little one and smile because they are looking down on you and smiling too. That happiness is like a little hug from our kids reminding us that they are waiting for the day when we will return to them.