Last weekend, my husband and I were in Hollywood with our daughter at a dance convention. While she attended hip hop, ballet, tap, and jazz dance classes, we had time to sneak in several dates. One morning we decided to have a breakfast date at Starbucks.
After we placed our order, we moved down the line to the bar where the barista places pre-ordered drinks. As I stood waiting for my Caramel Macchiatto, the barista yelled out an order for someone named Riley. I looked down at the plastic cup she slid across the bar and there in black writing was my daughter's name.
In the past, that would have ruined my day. I would have focused on the fact that she is not here. This time I decided to embrace the moment and shift my perspective. Instead of getting sad, I decided to see it as an opportunity to honor our daughter's memory. I smiled and said out loud, "Hi Riley!"
In three months, it will be the five-year anniversary of Riley's transition to Heaven. Initially I avoided any mention of her name and kept all of her keepsakes out of eyesight. But my friend JQ has taught me how to honor Riley's life by talking about her regularly and incorporating her into the fabric of our home.
I now know that keeping Riley's memory stored away took a lot of emotional energy and prolonged my healing process. Everyone has to grieve in their own way, but I want to thank my friend for being brave enough to share her daughter's memory with others and in turn modeled courage in the midst of pain.