Three years ago today was the absolute worst day of my life.  Three years ago today, I learned that my darling son, my little soul mate, had a tumor in his brain.  Three years ago today I thought I knew what that meant.

I knew that it meant he would be sick; but for how long was unknown to me.  I thought it could mean that he would get better, live to be the adult I'd always dreamed he would be.  I was certain it meant my emotional demise because when the doctor told me, "Bad news, it's a tumor," I started hyperventilating, and I thought I would never breathe again.  I knew I would not be able to function, for Joey, for myself, for my family.  I was absolutely certain that none of our lives would ever be the same again.

Today, I know that it meant something entirely different.  I know that it meant that Joey would die, that he would never live to be an adult, to play sports and date girls in high school, attend college and become passionate about something and someone.  He would never walk down the aisle to the woman he grew to love more than me, and he would never be the amazing father who started out as the sweetest, most loving big brother.

Today I know that his cancer changed me in ways I never thought possible.  Today, I know that I was able to breathe and to not only function but be strong for Joey and for my family.  To publicly hold my head up with grace and privately cry without my sons seeing me.  To come to terms with something so awful and emerge from it without being an entirely bitter, cynical, hateful person. 

Today I feel certain that something bad will happen to every single person in my family, and that it will happen when I am not guarded against it.  I know that the very least that has happened is that we are less happy, less joyous about the everyday events of life.  I know that we took so many things for granted, and even now sometimes we are too tired and too sad to change that.

But today, I have this:

and I am certain that every other gift I have has been left in place.  They may be flawed, angry, bitter, sad, confused, but they are mine, and I am theirs.

Today I know that my life is not defined by tragedy and my attitude should not be controlled by misery.  Regardless of the little white pill that I swallow every other day, it is my decision to wake up happy and live life the way I want to live it, or wallow in a gloomy place that closes off every wonderful and sacred part of my life.

Today I know that I am angry that Joey died, and that his absence hollows out my heart.  Today I know that I will feel that way tomorrow and next year and when I am an old woman.

But I also know that I am capable of love and laughter and happiness and that my sorrow will not break me.  I know that I have a life today, and it would dishonor my beautiful son not to appreciate it and try to live it with joy.

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