Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
Hermann Hesse

Sadness has been my companion for years.

I remember when she first entered into my inner circle. I was 5-years old and my parents shared that God and the church had called our family to move from the only place my young mind knew as home. My father had been appointed to another church hours away.

The door opened and she entered the playground as if she owned the joint, and she became one of my closest companions. I never let her get too far away and I held her very close, so close that not everyone who entered my life had the privilege of seeing her or even the awareness that she was there.

But she was.

Sometimes she hung out with me all day. Other days we would just meet over a cup of coffee after imperfections slapped me in the face, my heart was broken by life or when I needed to be present with someone else she had decided to friend or visit. But she was always there right in the mix with love, hope and even joy.

When I first learned back in August 2013 that the possibility of life was within me, it was like sadness decided it was a perfect time to make her way back into the everyday rhythm of my life. The hormones did not help at all, they were the main instigators telling her I needed her to hang out all day. I was somewhat angry she was back on the scene, but if I am honest I was a bit comforted as well by her presence. She had been a constant companion over the past 30-year and it just seemed to make sense she would be present during this season as well. It was hard to imagine going through this new life-changing adventure without her. I did not know what it looked like to go through without her, was not aware that I no longer needed her nor was I really conscious of the power I had to let her go.

It took about 8-weeks of deep union with sadness, intentional work with my therapist and total transparency with those who love me to let her go. It was about 12-weeks ago, right around the end of my first trimester carrying Annee. After a very intense session, my therapist very clearly and boldly told me it was time to let sadness go.

She told me I had learned all I possibly could from her and it was time to let this childhood companion go to make space for the new thing God was creating within me. By this time the hormones were starting to gain a little sense and I began to realize how much I did not really like or need her as much as I thought. I was literally willing to try anything. So I started doing the work of letting her go and each day sadness ceased to occupy my time. She became a visitor who I could sit with for a while, listen to and then let go, instead of a friend I felt I needed.

The past two-weeks have been two of the toughest emotional and physical weeks of my life. Much of it still feels like a dream, and any minute I will wake up to a little one treating my womb like a jungle gym and my offering suggestions for the holiday baby shower my sister had planned for me this Saturday. But it is not a dream and the tears caught by my pillow are very real. I cannot wish them or even pray them away. Sometimes my tears are the only prayers I can pray. I am hurt, disappointed and know death has a hell of a sting.

There is a lot I will be working out over the next few weeks, months and years regarding this particular chapter of the story. In this moment as I grieve death’s presence and seek life in its midst, I am grateful I no longer need sadness to be my companion. She can be a visitor that I can welcome and let go.