The other day I was looking for a particular picture in my Instagram feed. I ended up scrolling all the way to very bottom of my feed, all the way back the very first picture I posted on May 5th 2012. Chris had been dead for three months. My hair was long. A few days later in my feed, is a picture of Hooper. Scrolling up from the first picture, you can watch my life unfold as I deal with grief and live a life of a single woman. I lose weight and buy new shorts. I eat salads out of serving bowls. I visit Talaura in New York. I cut off all my hair, back to my normal self. I visit Chad and Jess in Atlanta. I spend my first Christmas with out Chris and with out Hooper because by this time I've had to say goodbye to him too. There's a picture of my luggage all stacked up in the living room with the caption of "home". I came back from Oklahoma that year to a truly empty house.
As the next year scrolls along, you see me go to Lindsay's wedding and not so much catching the bouquet, as picking it up from the floor. I get my first mammogram. Various friends and family members visit and then I go to Amy's wedding. By this time, I've met Michael but he doesn't show up in my Instagram feed for over a month and then he becomes a regular appearance along with the Cabbage. Eventually Josephine shows up in the feed, so tiny and then Albus. I forgot about how he was such a tiny little kitten when he came to us. There are plenty of pictures of my travels alone, but just as many pictures of our travels together. At some point in there you see a shift in the quality of my images. My Instagram feed starts to look a little nicer. I don't know if that's just me making an effort or a reflection of my life becoming a little nicer.
The next thing I'm going to tell you might sound a little selfish, but one of the things I love about my Instagram feed is that it does not include Chris. I started the account after Chris died. Sure, there are pictures of places where I have left Chris over the years, but there are not any picture of Chris being silly or looking at me in the way he used to look at me. It does not bring me physical pain to scroll through these images, which is not the case for some of the other places I store images. It's not that I don't want to remember that time. I have pictures of Chris and I up in my (our) house now. I just don't want to drag myself through all of it every time I want to look up an old picture. But also, my Instagram feed is a testimony to my resilience and strength. It tells me that there is life after Chris and I am thankful for this reminder. I am also thankful for all of the good things I see in that feed.
I have a good life and that's something to be thankful for. I am also thankful for you.