There is a term that many families who have lost a child hear often- survivor's guilt. It is a very real thing! This is an overpowering feeling that we all get. The little voice in our head screams things at us like, "How could you possibly laugh, smile or experience joy?! Your child died; you can never be happy again!" It's so weird, but we all deal with it. I must make an effort to allow myself joy.
For me, I tell myself that joy is not an option but rather a requirement. Since my daughter is not here to live her own life, I must live mine to the fullest for her. The first time I left my house after she died in 2016 was awful. Even though I was going to make her funeral arrangements, leaving the house without making sure there was a nurse to watch her felt like I was being a bad mom. Over the years, I have worked up to doing more things for joy, and not beating myself up for it.
This October my husband and I decided to take a vacation and it was FABULOUS!!! We went on adventures each day, enjoyed each other's company and we let ourselves find joy. We talked about Casey a lot and how she would like, or hate, some of the different things we did, but we did them.
If you are reading this and have lost a child, it's okay to be happy again. Your child would not want you to stop living. Live for them and make the most out of every day. Think of all the stories and adventures you will be able to share with them as we all still talk to our kids all the time.
Listening and learning from adults with disabilities helped me learn so much about my son and his future.