“Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.”
— MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO
My father, my daughter and I – all born in February. Before her death it was my most joyful month. From the 2nd to the 27th, three generations celebrating made the gloom of winter sparkle. Then everything changed. In the early weeks and months after losing a child no one can convince you that you’ll ever feel joy again. Yet as February approached, inexplicably, from somewhere deep inside my soul, I became driven to find a way to feel joy. It took every bit of my strength to plan something big – a gratitude party, a tattoo, a trip to the other side of the world, a vow renewal. Each event would distract me from my grief and, for a brief period of time, fill me with joy. This is my fifth February without my daughter. This year I didn’t plan anything big. For four years my family and friends indulged me by supporting my big plans. They held some of my grief so I could make room for the joy. This year I can just take a deep breath and know that they are all still here, holding my grief when I need it and even when I don’t. Each of them is helping to make this February sparkle for me just by being in my life, and by celebrating my daughter and her ever-present spirit.