Today I changed a profile picture. Seems harmless and I probably wouldn't normally give it a second thought. However this particular picture was posted at the start of this blog...with my Dad's memory in mind. I started Hannah's Day blog to share my thoughts on grief, cooking, hobbies and really anything in which I could gain my voice back after his death...so it was fitting to have a picture of me and my Dad.
The last few weeks I've had the thought of changing my picture on here. I wanted it to serve as a marker. Then that lovely voice would poke its head and say "Gosh, then you are forgetting. You don't want to forget, Hannah, do you?!" For any of you that has lost someone, whether to death, ended friendships or moves, you've heard that voice too...the one that makes it hard and sometimes impossible to pick up your feet to walk forward because for some reason moving forward is congruent with forgetting. It's a pretty loud voice sometimes...even when it comes to changing a little picture.
I didn't particularly want to change my picture. It wasn't like I needed to put a new one up. There was another voice I heard, however, the One that belongs to my biggest fan, the One cheering me on and understanding (better than I) that moving forward is the only way to go. This One's voice reminds me that I cannot stand still although at times I need to pause; I cannot go back although it is good to remember. It reminds me that I must continue to on the journey.
Heaviness fills my heart most times when I think of continuing on the journey because it feels like the further forward I go the further back my Dad's memory is. I know this isn't the truth, but it is a very strong feeling that I can't shake sometimes. Continuing the journey, differently than you imagined when you started, it very hard. It takes courage from the depth of your soul. Courage to face the next joy. I say joy because when you've lost someone, at least what I'm finding, is it takes more courage to face joy because that means you have to push through that voice that says, "You can't really find joy if you're Dad's not here to enjoy it with you."
I'm finding in this season (especially) that my Mom's words ring true, "It isn't an either/or thing, it needs to be both/and."
She's right. Continuing on doesn't mean choosing between moving forward or keeping my Dad's memory close. Doing one does not negate the other although that voice would like us to think so! No. Continuing on the journey means I get to choose moving forward and holding my Dad close. Maybe the first step of continuing on the journey is changing a profile picture. Further still, maybe continuing on the journey will one day be growing our family or moving to a new home that Dad was never in. Each step being a feat to face and victory to overcome with more and more freedom on the other side of both. I can have both/and - choosing to move forward and having joy can be my option.
So...I'd like to choose that one please...continuing and joy.