Diary Confessions, Part I

During my last visit home, I decided to bring a large trunk full of my most prized (and slightly embarrassing) possessions from my childhood back to my apartment in the city. Don't ask me why, but I found myself searching for my very first journal, one I started when I was just 8 years old. You guys this thing is golden, and one day I'll maybe even share a few entries. Unfortunately for you, that day is not today.

However, I did come across several other journals I'd saved and began flipping through the pages. I found one I started just two weeks after my mom died and sometimes I can't believe how much has changed since then. Tomorrow will make seven years without her and as I read the journal pages of my greatest heartbreak, I realize there are so many things I wish I could go back and tell that 21 year old girl; to assure her that she's strong enough to get through the hard months and years ahead. To remind her that she has a God, family, and friends who care about her deeply and will be with her every step of the way. To answer her questions and tell her that things are going to turn out okay. I'll be honest, I'm a rather strong willed person, so I'm not sure I would've listened anyway, but still...I figure someone else might. 

The words I would say.

You will find joy again.

You will learn that joy is not a feeling but a choice. That even on bad days, God gives us an opportunity to find hope in hardship and gratitude in sorrow. You'll look around and be reminded of all the good in your life; you have an abundance of blessings headed your way. Find comfort in knowing that although you feel as though a piece of you is missing, you are healing in a thousand little ways. 

Dad will be okay. Better than you could ever imagine.

I know you're worried that he might not ever be the same. But I promise, the dad you know and love is still in there. Give him time, give him grace. And know that he is still just as wonderful, and funny, and stubborn as before. And God has exciting plans in store for him. 

It's okay to be mad. Or sad. Or happy.

I admire your desire to appear strong, but you aren't fooling anyone. It's okay to just do you. There is no instruction manual and you're doing the best you can.

You will get answers. Just never as many as you'd like. 

I know you have so many questions and nothing seems to make sense. And although I am typically a big fan of spoilers and would love to fill you in, I wouldn't be where I am today without having walked through the past seven years in faith. I have a feeling this is a life long lesson and we're going to have to just deal. 

It's okay to embrace a world without her. 

You're going to feel guilty the first time you go an entire day without thinking about her. You are going to hate making decisions without her. You are going to fight situations that require you to move on without her. But the truth is, you never really have to. Everything you know and love about her, is woven into the fabric of who you are. Her faith, her values, her strength, her terrible cooking skills--that will continue to carry you through the next seven years and beyond. You'll come to know her in a million new ways, even in a world without her. 

I'm not promising that seven years from now you'll have it figured out. Not even close. But I can promise that you'll find your breath again. You'll discover your own voice (although you're going to sound just like her). Most importantly sweet girl, you will learn to love a life without her as you anticipate a lifetime together. 

You're going to be okay.

xo, S

Stephanie Zillmer