The Hardest Things

Dear Darlings,

It’s been a year today since my dad passed away. He left us on a bright and shining Mother’s Day. It was a hard day to lose him. He was so sick and needed to pass away, but to leave on that particular day was a bitter pill to swallow. It was on that bright and shining Mother’s Day I began doing two things I dreaded the most. I wrote my dad’s obituary and eulogy.

A month later we saw Zach and his entire class walk across the stage to accept their diplomas from high school in a moving ceremony, celebrating a huge milestone in their lives. Two months later, though, we packed him up, drove him to college and left him there. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.

Yesterday was the first Mother’s Day all three of my kiddos haven’t been here for the whole day. Zach had to pack up yesterday morning and head back to school. It was the second Mother’s Day we celebrated without my dad. It was hard to take the family picture without those two in it. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.

Part of me wants to photoshop them in, to make it look like we’re all still here, to make it look like the past year hasn’t been full of some of the hardest things in life. But that wouldn’t be reality.

In reality, though, some of the hardest things in life make the sweet times sweeter and the bright times brighter. Zach wrote this little note in my Mother’s Day card yesterday. “Although I am living out of the house right now and can’t see you guys everyday, it makes the time we do spend together that much better. I love spending time with you. I love you and I can’t wait to be home for the summer.” He’s right, the time we get to spend together is sweeter. The memories of my dad are that much brighter. They’re both never far away. They’re always in my heart, which takes away the sting of the hardest things in life.

A dear friend of mine put a quote I needed to see on Facebook today. It said, “There is  no shadow without sunlight behind it.” And it’s true. So my darlings, remember not only that quote, but also remember that sweetness can easily wash the hard sting of bitterness away. Focus on the sweet and the bright and life will be good, even with the hardest things.

For the love of all of my children,

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