smile

by lani

some days i can write. some days i can’t. these days, there are a lot of can’ts.

here is a paradox; that there is overwhelming relief in acknowledging that life sucks. we say it out loud, every day, like broken records, like broken people records.

“life isn’t what we want right now. things are hard right now. things suck right now. one day at a time. one hour at a time. it’s ok that life sucks. it’s ok that i accomplished nothing today. i lived. today is over.”

and the tomorrows become todays and then yesterdays and the weeks pass and the months pass and it still sucks, but each day brings us closer to days that might not suck. each day brings us closer to hope, even though the minutes and hours hold very little. i don’t have to hope right now; i just have to exist until the hope comes back, tentatively like a bud in a spring storm, unfolding each bruised petal.

perhaps it would be different if we had other children, but we don’t. we have no remaining little ones to bring joy and distraction, only silence, aching arms, and a vast chasm around us where our children should be. the consequences of 7 years of miscarriage and loss and “waiting for the right time” … 7 years of voluntary barrenness … loom like a haunted forest, forlorn ghosts of possibility.

we’re surviving. we’re holding on. we make plans, we teach children, we banter with housemates, we marvel at flowers, we laugh at jokes, we ache every hour of every day. and we smile. the smiles come frequently, perhaps as frequently as they used to. is that surprising? but they are not the same smiles as before. we fight for them, these smiles. they sear scars of choice into our faces, branding, like cattle irons, allegiance to this unfelt hope.

why? because we’re particularly strong? because we’re unusually brave? no. no, these are not the reasons.¬†we are not heroes, because loss does not exist in the realm of choice. the battles of grief are daily mindless survival.

weary soldiers, we brand our faces to survive, because the alternative is to die a death that even sky did not die, a death of love. and so we fight all that is awful with aching smiles and the belief that hope eventually comes to those who hope for it.

joel and lani at georgetown pub in astoria

anne found that she could go on living; the day came when she even smiled again. but there was something in the smile that had never been in anne’s smile before and would never be absent from it again.

~ lucy maud montgomery “anne’s house of dreams”

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