Oh no, I didn’t forget to pick up milk at the grocery store. I didn’t forget about a coffee date or a deadline. I didn’t forget to turn off my hair straightner. I freaking nail those “things I must remember” like a rock star.

What I completely, utterly forget sometimes is that my husband is dead. Really?!? I mean, come on! That is absolutely ridiculous. But it is so true.

Let me set the stage for the first time this happened. I was in the car. It was a gorgeous June evening. The sun was getting ready to set. I was driving to visit a friend and I had the most perfect view of the mountains. The Rockies are naturally so majestic. Then, when you add the sunset…oh, there are no words. The sky was pinkish/purple, there were sun rays shooting through. It was just gorgeous. Bruno Mars was on the radio. I love that song of his… “Uptown Funk.” I seriously was practically dancing in my seat. I mean, who doesn’t want to break out into some major dancing with that song? Life was good. It was great. I was carefree and living the dream. I forgot, somehow, that I was actually living my absolute worst nightmare.

And, then, like a ton of bricks, it hit me. Like someone had physically punched me in the gut, to the point I lost my breath. I remembered Tylor was gone. If that wasn’t bad enough, I realized I FORGOT Tylor was gone. Second punch.

It is true. I don’t understand how it is even possible. But it happened. It still happens more regularly than I would like to admit. For a time, I HATED it. I felt guilty. I felt stupid. I felt like something is wrong with me. Who forgets something so tragic, awful and quite frankly horrific. Am I selfish? Am I in complete denial? Did I really love him? I mean if I did, how in the world would I forget my best friend, soulmate, partner, my everything…is gone.

What I have since learned…I can view these experiences one of two ways.

First (the not-so-fun way), it is a perfect opportunity for me to shame myself, to not give myself grace and the freedom to grieve and heal. The guilt I experience can be a small seed that can quickly grow into a potentially suffocating weed that can take over me–my heart, my spirit, my soul…my life. I just cannot do that. I choose not to do that.

Second, I can view these “forgetful” experiences as true, unplanned, much-needed gifts. Yes, I am saying that forgetting Tylor has died can be a gift. These are gifts of freedom from extreme sadness I feel every second, every minute, every hour, every day. For a moment when I forget, everything is okay. And in some cases, everything is wonderful.

These gifts provide me a glimpse of hope, that in the midst of this heartache, I still have it in me. I still have joy. I still have love. I still have peace. Tylor maybe gone, but those fruits of the spirit on alive and well within me. They may be a little buried, a little bruised, but they are there and I am holding on to that. The reality is, I have to forget the tragedy, to remember the source of my hope. I am not always going to do that willingly or naturally, because that is a hard place to go. So when it happens, I am just going to embrace it and trust that, at that moment, I needed a little reminder that it is all going to be okay. That I am going to be okay.