Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the happy birthday messages for Quinlan last week! It was such a nice day celebrating him. We released balloons with messages written on them and the clouds were the perfect background to see them soar high in the sky. It was obviously tough with him not being here with us physically, but I feel that he was definitely here with us in a special way. Thank you all for being a part of that!
So, random, but I’ve been on a Grey’s Anatomy binge lately. I stopped watching a couple years ago when watching anything hospital related was too close to home, since the hospital had essentially become our home, and I was able to read the monitors probably better then the actors portraying the doctors on the show. (Also, spoiler alert, Dr. Derek Shepard died and that was too much…how could they kill McDreamy?! I mean after all, he survived a plane crash and being shot, then he dies in a car accident, typical Grey’s.) I’ve slowly been getting back into watching anything medical related and figured I’d see what was happening with the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
While watching an episode about Meredith (Derek’s wife, for all you silly people who never watched Grey’s), it sorta hits her out of the blue that she is, in fact, a widow. A widow with three kids (because obviously she found out she was pregnant with their third child soon after Derek passed away. It wouldn’t be a great show without that story line). In the same moment she comes to terms with this, she also says “I’m happy, and I never thought I would be again. But I am, and that’s all I need”. Happy – feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. This got me thinking. Will I ever feel like that again? I want to. I definitely have moments of feeling happy and laughing, but then I remember what’s happened. Are you allowed to be happy when you’ve had such a huge loss in life? The point in our journey we’re at right now seems to be the “I’m feeling happy…but, crap, now I feel guilty for feeling happy”. I’m not sure if this will ever go away. Or maybe it will get worse the more that time goes on. I wonder if this is enough to count as “being happy”.
Sometimes I don’t even want to “be happy”. It doesn’t seem possible to be able to have that kind of feeling after seeing your child with tubes coming out of his little body, having electrodes glued to his head more times then you can count, having him poked and prodded and x-rayed his entire short life. How can any parent in their right mind feel anything remotely joyful after that?
But then I remember the things that do bring me moments of happiness: reminiscing about Quinlan with family and friends, thinking about the amazing people who have been brought into our life because of Quinlan, knowing that Quinlan was my son who taught me something new every day, his smile, his curly hair and strong grip, and being able to share our story with whoever will listen.
So, yes. I do think I’m allowed to be happy. We’re all allowed to be happy. We’re allowed to laugh and smile. It doesn’t take away from the loss. It doesn’t take away from the love we have for Quinlan. And more importantly, I can’t imagine a boy with such a positive and happy demeanor about himself wanting us to feel any other way. I’m not going to stop crying, I’m not going to stop feeling sad, and I certainly won’t stop thinking about him every minute of every day. But I’m going to have moments of being happy and be ok with it, even if it’s followed by feelings of guilt, at least I know there’s still happiness in there somewhere. I may need to remind myself of all this on some days, but I’m allowed.