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Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Dear Josie,

Sunday was a good day. 

And I don't mean "good" as in a day that was extraordinarily special in any way, I mean good in the way I view the adjective anymore.  Good vs. Bad.

"Bad" days were all too common in the past.  Before you died, a bad day began with a traffic jam on my morning commute.  Spilled coffee on my floral blazer.  A bad day was an especially unruly teenager in first hour and five more in seventh.  Parent phone calls and sub par EOC scores.  Burnt lasagna and fights with husbands about a regretful Target rendezvous.  A fever that spiked a little too high and a midnight trip to the ER.  A bad day was typing sub plans while simultaneously being vomited on.  And after you  it was all too confusing, because these days seem all too "good" now, in comparison.

After you died so many things were redefined without my consent.  For starters, the concept that sometimes, birth happens after death.  Right there, immediately, was the essence of "bad".  Nothing could ever be worse.  Right?

It's just that there has been worse.  Since that day, because grief is not linear.  And it's also not all bad.

There was the day, two weeks after you died where your father asked if I was going to get out of bed because your brother was asking for me.  It was six pm.

"Probably not." I rolled my eyes.

"Are you serious?"  he asked.

"Are you?!!"  I responded.

There was the night when I prayed that I wouldn't wake up.  I understand how selfish this may seem to some people, but it happened nonetheless.  My birthday, three weeks after you died.  I turned 29 and you were dead, and it all seemed rather unfair.  A bad day, to be true.

People were texting me the nicest things, but always with "Happy Birthday" attached and those words were making me nauseous, actually physically sick.  I went to get a tattoo of your name and I remember welcoming the pain, because it was controllable.  And I wondered if I would ever be able to control any other emotion ever, ever again.  When I got home I looked around and I didn't see you. I took the special maternity dress I bought for my birthday dinner when you were still alive and I put it on, and then before I closed my eyes I prayed that I might not wake up.

Only I did.  Wake up.  The next morning, and your father made me breakfast and your brother drew me a picture before they left for the park.  And it was sunny out and seventy five degrees and something on TV made me laugh and I thought okay, okay.  Maybe. 

After you died I considered a "good" day to be one where I didn't want to die.  And honestly that first month there weren't many of them.  I smiled and I participated in conversations and I went to the movies a couple times and I ordered things from Amazon, but there were too many nights where I didn't want to wake up because I didn't want to feel it anymore.  Anything.  The love that I have for you or the pain that comes along with it.    Didn't want to walk alongside it.  Didn't think that I could.  And so many of my thoughts were apathetic, because who really cares if my clothes match or if my bed is made, because you died. 

Apathy is an awful thing.  I wanted to care, about the house or the test grade or story time. I wanted to care that I would open my eyes in the morning, and I knew that I should care about those things..  I just didn't care, because I couldn't see through the pain.

Sunday we went to the park, your brothers and I.  It was a play date with some new friends from school and their incredibly sweet mother.  I wasn't expecting to enjoy this day, because I don't generally enjoy Sundays anymore, because they always remind me of your Sunday.  Only surprisingly, I enjoyed it very much.  Holding your little brother and watching your older one wrestle and run on the pavement, and talking with a new friend.  Truly, a good day. 

I've had several since those bad ones, each with its own acknowledgement.  A lightness.  I can really feel it happening and I can really appreciate each part.  Your death showed me what bad really means, but I also know good. 

I know that for every two friends who couldn't seem to run far enough from me,  there was someone who dug in.  Someone who wasn't running.  Someone to pick up the broken and piercing and jagged versions of myself  and hold them until I was ready to reassemble.  One by one. 

I know for  every thought of giving up I saw a sunrise.  Not because I wanted to, but because my eyes opened and I was forced to see that there is life after you.  And what a lesson.  Truly, what a lesson.

And I know for every apathetic thought there were ten productive ones.  Hugs to be given and arms to be opened that were otherwise closed, because you showed me how. 

And I know that for every ten bad days, there is a day where it's 65 in November.  And there's a park with gravel beads just waiting to fill little, Kindergarten shoes that are going to ask for my help.  I know that there are kind strangers to offer ears on playgrounds and spontaneous brunches to be had.  I know that there are chubby babies to laugh with and six million breezes to fill these lungs, and soft cotton sweatshirts to hug these arms on these days.  These perfect, ordinary, amazingly "good" days that I cannot always see, but are coming, I know.

Sometimes, there is birth after death. 

And if you keep walking, life is there too.



  1. Powerful message. It's hard to see the good days sometimes, and bad days certainly have a different definition now than it did before my son passed away. I often get upset at myself if I catch myself complaining about the little things.

    Thank you for sharing. Glad to see good days are reaching for you. :)

    1. Thank you, Cat. It is very hard to see the good sometimes, and to trust there will be "good" again. I think that is the most productive thing Josie has taught me, that there will be good again even when it's really, really bad. My favorite analogy says that with grief, there is "life between the waves" and that is something I have definitely had to learn.

      Much love to you. Thank your for your comment!

      Xo, Nora

  2. I am glad you had a good day on Sunday. Gives me hope that some day I'll have some. Love you. -Christine