In the hours after we learned Cole was gone I wondered if I would ever feel joy again. My world was dark, the darkest I had ever experienced. Knowing Cameron was still alive really didn't bring me much comfort. Gradually that changed so that I could see a glimmer of light, a glimmer of joy creeping into my darkness, into my heart. But those moments were pretty short lived.
My first true moments of joy in that first week came when we learned that Cameron had a wonderful prognosis. Now I do know now that Dr. Ryan actually gave us the 'best case scenario' only view of what he thought the prognosis was. He knew that was what we needed to hear, he knew that on that day, a mere 6 days before Christmas (5 years ago yesterday to be exact) that our trip to Toronto in a crazy snow storm needed to be only about finding that joy. (he has since told us that he never imagined Cameron to be the healthy, energetic, completely uneffected child that he is).
And that was the start of feeling joy again.
As I said, it was Christmas time and my boys, then 5 and 2 were PUMPED. They had no idea how broken our world was, no idea the true sadness that mommy felt...though Brycen did say daily 'mommy you no cry today, you no sad today right mom'. Those words could start or stop tears...all depended on my mood.
But those two boys with their smiling faces, their laughter, their innocence...that brought me out of my funk and helped me find joy.
I think my kids were likely where most of my joy was found in those first few months. How can the smiles, laughter and love of children not bring you joy?
I think I also learned to find joy in the support of others. The calls, the meals, the visits, the favours, the food (oh did I mention that already), the gifts for all of us but most of all, the listening and the words of support, comfort and love that were shared...those were joy filled moments.
In the healing times that truly took the next two years of my life I also found great joy in helping others. Sometimes it would be the opposite...I would read stories of TTTS cases so similar to mine and yet with 'perfect' outcomes and I would be angry (admittedly I do very very occaisionally still feel this way) but for the most part I was filled with joy when another family beat this dreaded disease. I was also filled with joy when I read words of appreciation from others for the sharing of my story, for the hope and support I gave them. It was like Cole's little life had so much more meaning when those moments happened.
I also found great joy in planning the fundraisers..in knowing I was using this life lesson to better the life of another baby just by bringing funds to Mt. Sinai to help.
And my greatest source of joy... the lives all of my children but especially of Cameron and Cole. Knowing that I had created those lives out of love, struggled, experienced trials and grown and grown and grown...changed, blossomed... just knowing that my kids did that for me has and forever will, bring me such joy.
Where do you find joy? Think about it, pray about it, ask God to reveal it to you and never, ever, give up searching...there is always something out there that brings more and more joy to someone.