I worked on making a slideshow for my kids yesterday. I spent hours pouring through files of old family pictures and home videos. I smiled when I found pictures of my three children, and my heart ached a little when I recognized just how much they have grown over the years. I teared up occasionally when I came across long forgotten snapshots of my RJ. Every time I find a “new” picture of him, it is like a gift. A love note from heaven, reminding me that he is still mine.

Looking through our photos was so difficult, but to my surprise, the pictures that I struggled to look at the most were the ones of myself.

When I see old pictures of myself, I see a girl who was so blissfully unaware of real pain. I see a young mom who stressed over things like making the perfect chore chart, Pinterest worthy birthday parties, and organization. I see a happy, innocent girl who had no idea what true darkness really even could feel like.

I don’t even recognize myself in the girl I used to be.

I will be twenty nine in two weeks. I am young, and have so many chapters in my life that are yet to be written. I am still so early in my journey.

But the pain that I have endured makes me feel older than I am. The darkness that I have experienced has taken away my innocence. My heart is often heavy, and I feel the constant weight of grief on my soul. I am just so tired.

I quickly scrolled through pictures of myself, and let myself only linger on one. It was the one that RJ had taken of me two months before I became a widow. Two months before he passed away. I remember him smiling as he snapped it on his camera, and he showed it to our kids afterward saying, “Look how beautiful your mom is.” Days later, I saw that he had saved it as the background on his iPhone. When I plug in his phone and turn it on, it is still the picture that I see first. IMG_4491

I started crying when I saw it. I wanted to reach into the picture and shake myself. I wanted to warn myself just how hard things were about to get. I wanted to tell myself to hold on to every last second that I would have left with my husband, because I was almost out of time. I wished I could relive my last months with him so I could do them better. I wished I could go back to the carefree person I was before.

I was reminded again, just how much of myself had died when my husband took his last breath. He took so much of me with him.

But today I reconsidered as I got ready for the day. I realized I wouldn’t go back to being that girl, even if I could. Yes I have changed. Yes I have gone through pain that has aged my soul. Yes I still feel emotional trauma that hurts into my bones and makes it hard to breathe at times. Yes I am so incredibly tired, and don’t see an end to the heartache or exhaustion in sight.

But today when I looked in the mirror, instead of seeing a broken person–the one I so often see, I saw a fighter. I saw a girl who has looked despair in the face, and who has chosen to search for happiness instead. I saw a girl who has clawed her way out of the darkness and who clings to the light. I saw a girl who understands love, and who loves more deliberately than she did before.

I saw more than the pain and the exhaustion and the grief.

I saw hope.

I will keep pushing, and will keep growing, and will continue healing until I can look at pictures of myself, and not only see the heartache and the pain.

I will fight until I see me again.


4 thoughts on “Me

  1. I loved the old you. Yes you were young, innocent and mostly joyful. You were a great wife. You were a beautiful mother. Full of life. Full of hope. Full of faith.
    Our experiences change us. But the core person that you were is still there. I see glimpses of her all the time. I hear her sweetness in your voice. I see her love shining through your eyes as you interact with your little family. It is her faith in a loving Heavenly Father and her determination to serve him and Follow him- No Matter What- that has made you who you are today. Not a quitter. You get up everyday amidst the feeling of sadness, loneliness and unbearable grief and you pray for the Saviour to give you the strength to bear all. This is the beautiful daughter that I remember when I think of you. You are courageous and strong and are moving forward amidst the pain. You are creating a new reality for yourself and your children- You have allowed love back into your aching heart and continue fanning the flame of your faith every day. As much as I miss the old carefree girl that you used to be-I love the new you even more. 💕


  2. Wow! You are such an inspiration! When I think I’m having a “hard” day and feel bad, I love to read your posts!! I know that I haven’t been given one tenth of the challenge you have been faced with! You are seriously so beautiful inside and out! I love reading your posts! You are so strong! Thank you!


  3. You are such a strength to me. You remind me to not let the little things get to me, and to be more grateful and aware of the blessings I’ve been given. You do have a fighting spirit! Love you.


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