This is a picture of a woman who has been through hell this school year.
She began the year with letters to the teachers…”My child has Type 1 Diabetes.” “My child’s father that has stage 4 cancer.”
Two weeks after the school year began her husband, the father of her four children, died.
This is a picture of a woman who just dropped off the kids for their last day of school and as hard as she tries not to think about this past year, it is pushing its way to the front of her mind. Wrangling it’s way past all the suppressed feelings of anger, exhaustion and sadness.
People are congratulating her, “Congratulations, M is graduating from High School tomorrow!”
And she furrows her brows and says, “I haven’t thought about it.”
Because she tries SO SO hard not to. Because she knows when she really takes it in, when she really lets it sink into her soul what that all means…him leaving…his victories…his adulthood…she scarce can take it in.
She is going to lose it. That serene face up there? She will lose it.
But that woman is super good at hiding all the fear. All the emotions are kept in a box in her heart until inevitably, they will break through, unable to be contained.
Children growing. Milestones being reached. SO many things to be proud of…
And her husband is not here to celebrate with her. It brings so many conflicted emotions…all she can do is smile pleasantly.
And hope that she will make it through one more day, without him.
She has chosen to be happy…and she is really trying to honor that decision.
Sure, the tears find their way to the surface all the time, (still, ALL the time,) but she knows how she faces the future is a choice. Her choice.
And right now she chooses not to think about it. She chooses to live only for today. A day that in three hours will mark the end of this completely mind boggling year.
They have survived. Somehow the last nine months happened, and she kept walking. She kept moving. The family kept progressing. Which progression, she knows, has been a gift.
So that woman who has been through hell will smile today, and count the many blessings in her life. Four of which are attending their last day of 3rd, 5th, 9th and 12th grade.
She’s got this.
Until the cap and gown are put on. Then she’ll let herself lose it for a bit…crying and smiling her way through the pain, happiness, sorrow and confusion.
She knows Ryan wants her to smile.
And more than anything, she still wants to make him happy.