Maneesha you could not have planned a more perfect party for little princess Jaya! Our jaws were on the floor from the minute we walked in, completely breathtaking.
As you look through these photos in years to come Jaya, I hope you grow to realise that in every little thoughtful detail your mama pulled together for this party she was thinking of you. Thinking of how she could pull something together worthy of her precious little princess to show her and the world how much she means to her and how thankful she is for the light you bring into her life.
The last few months have been a bit of a blur. Typically when things are blurry I like to sit and write to work out how to make sense of it all. But I've now learnt that there are times when words don't come and all you are left to do is put one foot in front of the other as you try to walk through the fog.
So that's what I've done. Some days putting one foot in front of the other looks like getting out of bed, having a shower and doing your best to get away with wearing sunglasses all day so your toddler can't see how bloodshot or puffy your eyes are from crying all night because you don't want him to think it's his job to fix you. Other days putting one foot in front of the other looks like having dinner with girlfriends and losing yourself in laughter about their crazy stories of smashing blenders in the front yard. Other days it looks like putting on a bracelet with your sisters name on it so you feel like you are carrying her around with you. And then there are days when putting one foot in front of the other looks like being out on the water with those you love, enjoying the endless possibilities and hopefulness that the ocean always seems to comfort you with.
I miss my sister. A lot. It hurts at times. A lot. And every time that pain strikes my heart I try to breath deep and sit with my hurting yet thankful heart. Thankful that I loved well, thankful that I got to be loved well by her.
I once thought that "grief" was something that you did. You grieved and once done you move on. I'm not so sure anymore.
I think Glennon Doyle Melton is onto something when she says "Grief is love's souvenir. It's our proof that we once loved".
For me at least, I suspect grief, as it has already and will continue to look like many things as the years go by; some days it will hurt, other days it will look like joy and gratitude for the things Tanya's love and life taught me.
Once upon a time grief scared me and I felt so sorry for people who were grieving. Yes it's awful and painful at times but it's also "our proof that we once loved" and what a gift that is.