I haven’t posted much these past couple weeks. I left for Toronto on June 22nd and then, shortly after I returned home, my sister-in-law and her three boys came to stay with us. I also helped to plan our neighbourhood Canada Day celebration, so life has been full.

But I have missed this cathartic practice and I plan to keep making time for it. I feel behind – I want to write about my thoughts and experiences in as close to real time as possible, and there’s things that happened weeks ago that I still haven’t shared.

Still, as I write this little update, I can hear cousins playing and grandparents laughing. Boys in super hero shirts are running around with Captain America shields and walkie-talkies. It’s a wonderful sort of chaos that is much less exhausting when you lean into it.

But I won’t have time for what I feel I need to do unless I ignore something else I feel I need to do. So, I’ll hide away for a few minutes while my house is full of family entertaining each other.

I went to Toronto by myself to visit with the sort of friends who know your enneagram number better than you do. We cheer each other on and celebrate each other’s successes as if they were our own. We cry tears for one another and talk to (or yell at) God on one another’s behalf.

I love them, but I was scared to leave home so soon after loosing Brody. I boarded the plane in Winnipeg and felt completely alone. I missed my husband; I’ve never liked travelling without him. And I was sad to leave Bryson, though I knew he would be fine with his dad. I heard anxiety whisper in my ear: maybe this was a big mistake.

Then I asked the dad sitting next to me if he needed help with his baby daughter while he set up his toddler’s iPad. I bounced this little stranger on my knee, helped her with her soother, whispered in her ear that it was going to be okay, and we both calmed down.

The flight attendant looked over and said, “You’re clearly a mom.”

I knew this trip was not a mistake. I could do this.

The trip was filled with warrior poses in High Park, laughing so hard someone pees her pants (not me), Second City, Sweet Jesus, and serendipitous moments when you find the most darling Italian café just as the crowd leaves and the rain comes.

I’m glad I was brave. I’m glad I was willing to leave the unknown behind for a time to embrace something new.

I think I cried every night, but I cry at home too. Pretty much nothing in life feels easy or comfortable right now. I’ve decided that’s okay. I don’t want that forever, but I do think comfort has been a bit too important to me for most of my life.

Grieving and growing is an exhausting process, but, in the big picture, I think it will be easier if I lean in.

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