I see them all the time. You probably do too. The pictures, the memes, the quotes - everything displaying the sunny side of life. How to stay positive. How to turn your negatives into happy thoughts. How to brush off the bad. How to stand tall in the face of darkness. For some reason, our society expects people to always be okay. To always sport a smile. To always stand up, dust off, and carry on. "Keep Calm And Carry On" even.
To that - I say "No thank you." Life is not a bowl of cherries. Life is a journey. And right now I'm blindfolded, barefoot, and bound, and somehow expected to travel this journey with ease. With grace.
Somewhere along the line, we as a human race, lost permission to be angry at life's circumstances. Can we change the circumstances? Not always. Does that mean we aren't allowed to get angry over things we can't change? I beg your pardon.
It will never be "a good thing" that Harlynn died. I will never be okay with having to lose her. It's true God wastes nothing, and out of terrible events arise great and momentous purposes. I don't believe for a second, however, that our losing her happened for the "reason" of something else. You cannot reason with me on why babies die. You cannot give me a reason my baby isn't here. You cannot. However, I'm now in pursuit of a life-mission to help other families. To be some source of help and comfort to the parents and families that experience this loss. I wouldn't have done this had I not experienced it. And again I say, it will never be a "good thing" that Harlynn died. But praise God he can use it for his good things. For his children. For all of those who have to walk this road.
While I know I am blessed, and am grateful for all I have - and am grateful for once having things I have since lost - I do not want to feel pressured to simply be okay. To not question why this happened. I do not want to be expected to hold myself together at any given time. I do not want to adhere to the expectations of a society who knows nothing about this path, and conform to their view of how I should grieve and when.
I don't want anyone to take away my right to grieve messy.
While I appreciate those who can turn the negatives to positives, who always have a bright outlook in any situation, and who decorate their mantras with uplifting reinforcements, I don't want to be lumped in with them. I'm not there.
To all the grieving, all those who suffer, all those who are heavily burdened: You have permission to be angry. You have every right to be upset. You have free reign to feel those feelings to the fullest, because repressing them can do more harm than good later on.
If you can't smile, that's okay. If you can't stop crying, that's okay. If you find yourself in a place you want to hole up and tell the world to stick it - that's okay.
Eventually, with every breath I take, and with every choice I make throughout the days ahead, I will stop being upset. I will stop being mad. I know I will. I know you will.
Give yourself time. Give yourself space. Give yourself permission.
In the end, we'll be better for it.
And if society tries to tell you how to feel or what to think or how to behave - tell society you appreciate the intent, but they don't know you as well as you know you.