“What I love” project for grief

Saipanhayden
6 min readFeb 18, 2023
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

The week before my daughter died, she asked me to compile a list of 100 things I love — and why. She gave explicit instructions.

She had a septic blood infection and was fading fast, so honestly, I think she forgot why she asked me to do this. She didn’t bring it up again. But I’m glad I did it because it was a good exercise for thinking about what brings me joy in a time of deep grief.

Now, I am working through this list in different ways as I process my daughter’s death. And it is good. And it feels like I’m honoring her wishes to live in joy — maybe that’s why she asked me to write it in the first place.

I hope you give it a try.

1. The scent of cinnamon candles because they remind me of family, warmth, and baking.
2. Bath bombs because they feel luxurious and force me to stay still and relax
3. Cleaning ladies because they are magic and make me remember what it is like to feel “brand new”
4. Beautiful places because they exist despite everything
5. Airbnbs because they allow me time to indulge in my life rather than my responsibilities
6. Picture windows because I can enjoy the beautiful without having to fight with it to make myself comfortable
7. Cadbury Chocolate because it melts in my mouth in a way that feels expensive
8. Heated car seats because I live in Alaska
9. Traveling because there is so much beauty to see and experience
10. Lemonheads because they remind me of my childhood
11. Cottages because they make me feel like life can be stripped down to just the pretty stuff — at least for a while
12. Escape rooms because they make me feel superior :)
13. Art, dance, or writing classes because learning new things is truly the fountain of youth
14. Harry Potter because it is literal magic
15. Thrifted clothing because I can “go crazy” guilt-free — mostly
16. Decorating my house because I love reinventing
17. Live theater/concerts because I can feel every song in my bones
18. Being on the water — whether on a canoe, paddle board, or boat because the reflection on the surface makes me feel infinite
19. Gift cards because they are little dates with myself that I hold in my pocket
20. Tile floors because they’re so much easier to clean (pretty and practical!)
21. Seeing the stars in a new place because it reminds me how connected we all are
22. Disney land because it is…

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Saipanhayden

I am an assistant principal at a small middle school. I care deeply about people and I like to find solutions if I can. Life is hard. Let's be kind