Ever since Lydia passed away, I have struggled with the Fourth of July. Typically a fun family weekend full of patriotism, parades, good food and family, however, seven years ago it turned to a sorrowful memory. The last holiday she was with us was the Fourth. Twelve days later she would be gone. Subsequently, life on the Fourth of July was forever changed. I no longer looked forward to it and spent many Fourths hibernating in my house, engulfed in a cloud of grief, wishing I could hide from the world.
As the years have passed, I’ve come to a crossroads and realized that I had a choice. A choice to embrace the beauty of Lydia, of being her mom, of all the amazing memories we shared as well as the incredible gifts her legacy continues to give, or live in a terrifying state consumed with darkness and hopelessness.
It was an easy choice. That’s not to say that this time of year is always free of heartache or isn’t accompanied by buckets of salty tears. But the heaviness and gloom has lifted and the love we share continues to blossom and multiply.
And so, I choose to remember her on this day as she was every year before. Her long blonde pigtails tied with red and blue ribbons, driving her jeep in the parade throwing candy to the children with an enormous smile permanently sewn on her face. Happy and joyful with not a worry in the world always letting her light shine!