Smiling Keeps Me Sane

Sigh ... this post has been circulating around in my mind for a long time. 
As a blogger, I sometimes grapple with how much of my personal life I should share with my readers, especially if the subject matter is heavy, sad, or unpleasant. Even though readers complain about bloggers being not real enough, when bloggers do choose to share something personal or close to their hearts they receive just as much backlash for keeping it too real. So, I feel that most times bloggers can never win, it is a catch-22. Readers want you to keep it real enough for them to relate to you but not real enough that it forces them to face uncomfortable truths and situations. So, what is a blogger to do?

Smiling Keeps Me Sane #ToyasTales #grief #coping #SmilingKeepsMeSane

At the end of the day, you can only be true to yourself, even if it makes others uncomfortable. So, for me, that means sharing some painful memories that have shaped the woman I am today.

For almost 18 years I have despised this time of year. I know "despised" is a strong word, but in my case, it is an accurate description. More specifically I loathe Easter and the weeks leading up to it and the weeks immediately following it. Why? When I was twenty years old I gave birth to my only child, a beautiful and charismatic baby boy. He entered my life on April 12th and changed my life forever. He made me feel a depth of emotion that I didn't even know was possible, and as cliche, as it may sound I finally understood what unconditional love was. Unfortunately, our time together was short lived. Two weeks before his third birthday he died in a car accident with his father, grandmother, and aunt, on March 29th, which happened to fall on Good Friday that year. They had decided to take a road trip to visit another relative, and I stayed home because of work and to make preparations for his third birthday party that was supposed to be held in a couple of weeks. They were on the highway headed toward their destination when traffic came to a complete standstill because of construction. A semi truck driver for some reason did not see the miles of traffic in front of him not moving and slammed into the back of their car at full speed without breaking and killed them all instantly. I never found out why the truck driver never stopped. Did he fall asleep at the wheel? Was he under the influence? Because of shoddy police work they never gave him an alcohol or drug test, so, I will never know what the contributing factors were. Those unanswered questions still haunt me to this day. Unfortunately, I ended up burying my son on his birthday the day I was supposed to be celebrating his life. To say the least, I was devastated, shattered, and ever since then, I have been a shell of my former self. 

In my experience with dealing with a loss of a child, that pain never goes away or subsides. It will stay with me until the day I die. The loss of any loved one can seem too hard to bear, but it is especially hard when that loved one is a child because it goes against the nature of things. As a parent, we always assume that our children will end up burying us, so, it is hard to grapple with it when it is the other way around. It made me question everything that I thought I knew about life, and at a very early age, it taught me a hard truth, that no matter how much we try to plan and control our lives sh*t happens. Over the years I have had my ups and downs with regards to my grief. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can go weeks without it being the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. Other days, the pain is so intensely crippling as if it had happened yesterday. I used to think something was wrong with me, but after years of researching grief and how it affects people, I realize that my reactions are normal. Everyone grieves in their own way, so, I never judge anyone and how they choose to handle it to cope. 

One of the ways I have managed to cope is searching out things that will make me laugh because internally my heart is always crying. Laughing and sharing in moments that put a smile on my face momentarily relieves the pain of my scarred heart and stress that I carry around with me every day. I have a naughty sense of humor at times, and the more inappropriate the joke the harder it makes me laugh, and I cherish those moments. Even if it is just for a moment, it brings me a bit of joy and it keeps me sane in this crazy and chaotic world.

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  1. LaToya, I honestly don't know what to say; I teared up while reading, I'm so sorry. I cannot even imagine how you've felt and continue to feel throughout the years. I don't understand why these things happen, I just don't know. All I can say is that I'm thankful that you chose to share this with us, it gives me a new found respect and admiration for you, you are a strong woman, LaToya. Sending lots of love your way, beautiful.



  2. I am so sorry for what you had to go through. I can't even begin to imagine the pain and sadness you felt. I think that you are so strong for sharing this and I appreciate bloggers who aren't afraid to open up to readers, especially about personal things, because it takes a lot of courage.

  3. Wow...girlfriend. Thanks for sharing. You touched my soul completely with this post....especially since we just celebrated my oldest daughters 7th bday. Experiencing and dealing with grief for a loved one is very deep. Especially at a younger age. I'm postively sure that the grievance for a child,and two other loved ones at the same time is even more emotional than imagined. I've too have lost someone truly special (my only father figure in my life when I was 16 almost 20 years ago and still feel the grievance but it's more of a happy grievance or memory lane visits from time to time.
    Once again thanks for sharing and being so open because your story makes one feel even more grateful for today...for ever minute. You story is powerful and needed. Sending much love, strength, laughter and smiles your way.
    You are a warrior and totally love with the #spiritandsoulent. You go girl!

  4. Oh, Toya, I am so sorry. Last weekend left us my grand mom. It's hard to believe she is not here anymore. I can't even imagine your pain and sadness. You are very strong woman. Thank you for sharing this post. Sending you much love and hugs <3

  5. I have no words, LaToya, I'm crying as I read and as I am typing this...I can't imagine the pain but I can imagine that it never goes away. Thank you for sharing this with us, with heart breaks for you and I want to reach through the screen a hug you. You are a strong woman and I genuinely respect you for that because I'm not sure if I would have been as strong if I was in your shoes.

  6. And you have such a beautiful smile! I felt my heart drop while I read your post. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. My heart is breaking for you. I am sending you so much love right now my sweet blogging friend. -

  7. LaToya! No! Im tearing up, reading through tears. What can I do to make this untrue. OMG, I am beside myself with shock! This is a parent's worst nightmare and you lived it. Undiluted pain. Yet you manage to smile. I applaud you for smiling and I will keep you in my prayers especially at this time of the year. Sending hugs and lots of love your way. You have angels watching over you and smiling right back at you always. You strong woman, you!

  8. Beautiful!

  9. So sorry to hear of your loss, whether long ago or recent, a loss is a loss. I can't even begin to imagine what that feels like. I'm glad to hear that you can still find ways to laugh. I love all of your smiles. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  10. I know that feeling you spoke of. True love. I knew it when I looked across the delivery room at my baby boy being held by my husband. I saw his little old man look as he quietly observed everything with his dark blueberry eyes and knew then what love truly was. It has stayed in my heart ever since then. I hold it close. My baby boy is now 30 years old. I have not experienced that ultimate horror of every parent of losing a child, as you have. I cannot imagine how that felt and how you have managed to live with it. I cannot imagine being strong enough to bear that pain, that sorrow. You are a strong woman, my dear. I will keep you in my prayers and hold you close in my heart where I hold that first memory of true love. Judi


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