Monday, July 20, 2015


I am unbelievably happy.

Seriously. It's almost hard to believe. Especially when I look back on the last four years. Am I the same me who took care of her dying mother, who screamed and cursed at God and the universe, who lived in fear and pain and made a habit of grieving?

Sometimes, nowadays, it's hard to remember that life. That life before things started to get better. That life before the good things outweighed the bad. My life before my then boyfriend, now fiancé.

Because it's so different now. The good far, far outweighs the bad, things are falling into place, good things are happening, and I have so many things to look forward to.

I do know I am the same me. And I know this not just because I can re-read what happened in this blog. I know it because on days like today it completely surprises me that I'm happy.

Let me give you an example: two weekends ago I was in Portland visiting a friend, and I found a wedding dress. I found it at a bridal thrift store called Adorned in Grace, whose mission is to support victims of sex trafficking. It was the first dress I tried on, in the first store I went into. It was perfect.

I had to fly the dress home with me to Oakland, but the plane didn't have any places I could hang it, so I had to stuff it on top of other bags in one of the overhead compartments. I ended up sitting at the complete opposite end of the plane from my dress.

Now, instead of assuming that everything was going to be okay, and trusting the other passengers to be kind to it, and trusting that good things were happening, and were still going to happen, I did the opposite. I sat in my seat and freaked out, afraid that the dress was going to be ruined, and that the passengers were going to stomp all over it, or that it would get stolen off the plane, and I'd have to find another dress, and everything would fall apart. In short, I expected bad things to happen.

I do that a lot - expect bad things to happen. I learned it when my mom was sick, and maybe before. I learned to expect the bad things because maybe then they'd be a little less painful. I learned to expect the bad things because that was all that kept happening, for so long.

Slowly, slowly, and with a lot of help from my fiancé and from God, I'm learning to expect good things instead of bad. I tell myself, over and over again: "expect good things."

That's why, when I realize I'm happy, when I see how things are working out for good, when I feel things falling into place without being tugged or shoved there by me, I'm overwhelmed. I cry tears of joy and of awe and of surprise, and I thank the Lord that good things are happening.

It's still weird. It's just weird to be happy! I still don't know exactly what to do with it, and it still feels a little unreal. But the long and the short of it is that I am happy - really, truly, deeply happy. And I know that makes my mom happy too.

Mom? Guess what?

"I'm engaged!"

This is the conversation I wish I could have with you. I call you to tell you the good news, and before I even say it you can read the news from my tone. We laugh, and cry (because of course we would cry), and we get really ridiculously excited. You tell me how much you like him, and how happy you are for me, and we plan for you to come out to Oakland soon so we can scheme together, go wedding dress shopping, talk about other girly things.

I did get engaged*, and I'm really, really happy. But in the happiness there's this sliver of sadness that seems to balloon when I least expect it. This realization that I can't have this conversation with you, I didn't have this conversation with you, I can never have this conversation with you. You won't be there to help with invitations or work on centerpieces. You won't be there to take in the hem of my dress or tell me how beautiful I look. You won't be there to dance with him on our wedding day, after he dances with his mom. You won't be there for all the firsts, you won't be there for our kids, you won't be there when I'm scared or angry or confused or uncertain and I just need my mommy to make it better.

You'd love the ring, Mom. It's vintage, just like I wanted, and it's simple, just like me. It fits perfectly, and it's just so beautiful. It's a little weird to wear - you know I don't wear rings very much - but I'm getting used to it. I can't keep myself from staring at it - it's so glittery!

I wish you were here, to tell me what it's like. To tell me what marriage, what being a partner is really like. I wish you were here to help me transition from being single to being not single. It's a big transition! Were you ever scared?

I wish you could meet him, Mom. He's a wonderful man. So kind, so loving, so generous, so loyal. And funny. You'd really dig his sense of humor. And he'd really dig your baking skills.

I miss you, Mom. I wish, more than anything right now, that you were here. I never imagined being here without you. I know I'll get through it, but it really hurts right now. I love you, I miss you, I love you, I miss you....

I wish.

*And yes, my fiancé (heehee, fiancé!) knows about this post, and knows about this sadness, and he sits with me in it. He's pretty amazing that way.