I was thinking about #loveliveson last night. How the day after Melvin died, that idea formed in my mind and got me out of bed. I didn’t know then what I know now, that it would become my purpose, who I was to become. Love living on is a force that drives me. Sometimes it’s a big gesture of effort and sometimes it is much more quiet. 100% of the time, I’m a required participant.
Joy can’t spread on its own.
Grief can tend to make a lot of things grey and dark. Being open to joy takes work. I sometimes have to dig deep to see the colors of a day fill in. I have to be open to seeing Melvin and Jake’s love, growing and blooming in unexpected places. While I may wake up on any given day with a strong ache of loss, the universe will almost always serve me up something beautiful to balance it. It’s not always obvious, but it’s always there. Like a note from a reader saying my grief experience is helping her deal with the loss of her dog. Or unexpectedly seeing a video of Oliver running around in the wheelchair that we donated to him. Sometimes, love living on is as easy as sunshine or a quiet moment that lets a memory of the boys take over. Love lives on in every sunset too. Last night there was a frost warning here, love exploded through that alert because for many, many years the first frost signaled the end of allergy season for Melvin. That alert was joy reminding me from where I came.
Love living on requires me to take action. To donate Jake’s things. To take in a foster, to donate to a cause, to be there for someone in need. Some days, love living on is through patience for Doug.
Love living on requires me to hold onto the fact that they were here, we persevered, love won; in the same moment it requires me to be present. If I had been the one to go, Jake and Melvin would have spread my love like a wildfire.
This is life’s beautiful work.
Of course, the boys live on through my efforts with Melvin and Jake’s Project Joy too. I was more public with how we reached out with Melvin’s Project Joy efforts. Since adding Jake to that cause, I have been a little more quiet about the ways we are helping. Melvin was loud and proud and exuberant. So were our efforts in his memory. Jake was more reserved. Our last year together was he and I leaning on each other, so for the last few months, my giving has been more quiet, like Jake and I were. But every single thing I do in his memory, sends loud joy outward and inward.
Every thought of them both, inspires me to always give more than I take.
When I get up each morning, there is a nanosecond where I keep my eyes closed and pretend Melvin and Jake are still here with me.
- I have gotten up 562 times since Melvin died. Since that very first morning, I felt him with me. I will never be able to explain it but he has never really left me.
- I have risen 100 times since Jake died. There is still sadness in those moments. Less air. There is still more healing needed, more joy to spread to be sure that mending continues.
- I have woken up to Doug, 55 times. That makes me have a smile explosion.
Three different boys, two different losses, one beautiful love. I rise up every day to make sure that love lives on and grows and that I do my part to fuel our joy train.
This song lifts me, inspires me, calms me and brings me joy. This song is my battle cry.