I have come to realize in the many motherless birthdays following that day that I learned how to hold grief and joy simultaneously how to laugh and cry in the same -hour period and sometimes at the same time, from my mom. In addition to the stage four breast cancer that she battled for nearly three years, she also had Multiple Sclerosis for years. During more than a decade of very serious illness, unfathomable pain, hospital stays, chemotherapy, and wheelchairs, she had a fucking blast. She traveled as much as she could and as much as we could afford to, she always had her nails done, she hostedand let me hosta laundry.
Llist of parties big and small, and most distinctively, she was always smiling and taking care of others. She was always honest about her pain and her health. And while her poor health did sometimes stop her in her tracks, she was so good at cultivating joy that even when she was once again in a hospital bed, she could still find something to smile about, or someone to befriend.
Right now, we would all do well to emulate my mom focusing on some impossible balance of cultivating both grief and joy in the midst of so much uncertainty and anxiety. To date, we have lost over , Americans to . When I wrote this article, I was thinking about the millions of families grieving the unexpecloss of a loved one this yearand then my family became one of them. On October th, we lost my -year-old cousin Ebonee Abby to the novel coronavirus.
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