It was so important for me when my first son Johnny was born, for him to know and feel he was loved.  Then when my second son Joey was born wow double the love.  John and I always agreed the boys would be hugged and told “I love you” every day and we promised one another we would always set a good example of love, kindness, and acceptance.

Over the past two years, I feel like I have put aside some of the basic principles, values and core beliefs I strive to live by every day.  I became consumed by taking care of John.  His car accident in May 2016 and then his cancer diagnosis in July 2017 and eventually dealing with his loss in April of 2018. Caretaking and grief consumed me over the past few years, and I felt as if I no longer had the energy or love to give anyone. At times I would let mean spirited people cloud my judgment and take me back to a place of hate and resentment.  A place I remember so vividly from my teenage and early twenty years.

Lately, I have been struggling to find my place in this new life I now live.  I sometimes don’t have the energy to take on new tasks or fight new battles.  Well, past battles and hurt seem so petty now.  Grief gives you a new perspective on the past.  It makes you think twice about the challenges, battles, and struggles you face.  Time is of such value and dwelling on the past or worrying about the small stuff seems like such a waste of time.

As I try to figure out this new life, I am doing my best to find ways to navigate my way back to love.  There are days I feel lost, and I feel like I am never going to find the loving path I used to walk.  There are moments I don’t feel strong enough to seek the path.

And then it happens.  A conversation over dinner, a long jeep ride to run errands or a late night talk with one of my boys.   It sparks a deep reflective conversation about love, life, faith, and God.  Before I know it my adult sons are teaching me back all the lessons John and I taught them over the years.

I have been amazed by the wise reflections from my boys.  I am so blessed to have them.  I have said it over and over in my past writings, but I am.  God gifted me some loving children.   They have supported me and loved me through my grief and all the changes in my life.  At the same time dealing with their own grief and changes.  They have been strong, selfless, and loving.

It is so beautiful to see the wise reflections and experiences I have shared with my children about my life and the way I chose to live reflected back on me; especially in a time when I don’t feel strong enough to live that way in the present.  When I see these reflections in them, it looks familiar and something I lost when I lost my husband, John.  Now my children are continuing to remind me of who I am, and I no longer feel as lost.  Instead, I understand I am just grieving, and God was giving me time to heal.

I miss my husband John every day.  The grief will never completely go away; I am just learning to adapt. I am choosing to move forward.  John has forever changed my life.  He gave me two beautiful sons, and he loved me through everything (and I had a lot of everything).  John will be a part of who I am for the rest of my life.  That will never change.  He gave me faith, hope, courage, strength, inspiration and most of all LOVE.

Yes, I feel like I am starting to come alive again.  Come alive in a new way.  At times I wonder if I can feel more alive than I once did before.  Can I grow an even deeper understanding of life and love?  I can’t imagine I could, but at times it feels as if it can.  I can tell you life feels different.  The desire to learn and grow doesn’t seem empty, anymore.  All I can tell you for now is I am so grateful God has used my children to remind me of who I am!

Luv, Luv,

Julie💙