I go to a grief recovery group at my church, and last night was the last night of it.  We each wrote letters to our loved ones, strung them onto a balloon, and let ’em fly.  I wrote Nate a long one, but not necessarily one that spilled my guts, since I feel like he watches Jack and I from Heaven, and even believe he has the ability to pray for us from up there.  But I thanked him for some things, and mostly was thinking about how grateful I am that I can move out from here.  I am in the midst of starting a new life, one that won’t hold on to small shreds of what was left, but one where it is a new birth unto itself.  Complete with new likes and dislikes, new dreams and hopes.  New people, even (Though I have no intention of letting go of my old friends.  If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that relationships are the most important thing in life.  I don’t take relationships lightly). But this is the first time I can think of about not dreading the future since Nathan died. But, in my letter I told Nate that even though I’m looking forward to all these new and different things, I carry the former with me.  They are buried deep in my heart. 

I was talking with my friend, Laurie, the other day, and I finally just asked her if I was a totally different person since Nate died.  I feel so different, but is there anything left of the wife that Nathan married?  I kept my thoughts to myself on this, because I wanted a real answer.

“You know, Lauren, I think God used this to show you strength He’s given you that I don’t think you knew you had then.  I mean, you can’t have something like this happen and not grow stronger.  But you’re personality is still the same.  You still have the same outlook on life and everything.”

And this made me so happy.  I want to learn more and grow wiser in life, but I always want to be a version of myself.  If I was a completely different woman now than the woman Nathan married, it would mean something was off.  Either I was faking it when I was Nathan’s wife, or I am faking it now.  But she said I was the same, but I’d learned a lot.  Or been through the wringer, either way you want to look at it. 

After hearing that, I knew I was more ready to start over.  Being completely myself, the old Lauren in a new situation and place.  Carrying the treasures I’ve gleaned with me to help me in my journey. 

Life is good.  There are so many parts that are unfair about it.  There’s so much trouble. There are definitely, definitely mistakes.  I’ve made so many mistakes. There’re consequences.  There’s Death.  But, for all the crap we go through down here in this short breath,  God has turned it all into beauty at the end.  He’s made it all a victory for us. 

Even if Seattle isn’t what I think it will be, or if I end up having to move back in a year from now, I am looking forward to starting again for the first time.  I’m actually excited about the future.

As I watched my letter to Nate fly up into the Heavens, I knew that even though I’m letting go, he and all the beauty he brought into my life will come with me wherever I go. I’m so thankful God gave me the chance to love him and our beautiful son. Thank you, Nathan.  I love you.

But, mostly, of course…Thank you, God.