“How’s your week been?” texts my sweet friend. “Girl! The crappy and the beautiful! Always! Until I get to Heaven, then it will all be beautiful!” I reply.

“The crappy and the beautiful” refers to an earlier blog in which I described the highs and lows of this life after my daughter’s death.

And let me stop right there. Because part of the crappy is simply choosing words to describe the present state of my precious daughter, words that don’t pierce through my heart and stop my train of thought. I really can’t stand to refer to her as “deceased” and certainly not “dead!” Dead is the worst word in the world.

The truth is that she is very much alive in heaven, but the reality is that I am here on earth. So, however I choose to refer to her, the words don’t come easily, but always fall clumsily from my mouth.

So there’s the crappy, but there’s also the happy.

A huge part of the happy is the part of my daughter that she left behind. She named her Brooklyn Grace.

Brooklyn was ten months old when her mommy went to Heaven (my favorite way to describe her passing), and through a wonderful miracle of God, we were allowed to adopt her.

So in addition to my two beautiful surviving daughters who are grown and gone (out of the house), we are now parenting this curly-haired, blue-eyed, five-year-old redheaded bundle of joy.

Here’s the happy, when she throws her little arms around my neck and asks if I need “some lovin’s.” Answer: always yes.

Here’s the happy, when the sound of her voice either singing or talking to herself as she plays fills this house and this heart.

Here’s the happy, when she says, “Nana, you’re my best friend.”

One day we went for a walk and picked some wildflowers. “Why do these have splinters on them?” she asked after I handed them to her.

“That’s just the way God made them.” (My go-to reply when I don’t really know the answer.)

“He shouldn’t put splinters on flowers!” was her astute reply. I laughed and agreed.

This is how we think life should be, right? Only beautiful. But the reality is that the flowers have splinters. The challenge is to look past the crappy to the beautiful. To savor the sweet in the midst of the sad. To see the happy in the midst of the hard.

Here’s the happy.