Day by Day, We Get Better

February 13, 2023

I lock the car and head into the gym where my daughter is finishing up winter softball training. I’ve got tired eyes and a slow and steady pace, grateful for an unseasonably warm winter day. It’s been a challenging week– the kind that’s been filled with the fog of grief. The kind of week that has highlighted my mother’s absence. I’m a little overwhelmed and drastically defeated. 

After years of living with the immeasurable grief of losing my mother, it still sneaks up and surprises me. When it does, it always feels like a personal attack, one that I should have expected and conquered by now. I’m lost in the self-critique of my strength and resilience when I hear my daughter’s team shouting. I look up to see the girl’s in an energetic circle, charismatically chanting:

“Day by day, we get better and better.”

They continue, louder and louder each time.

“Day by day, we get better and better, until we can’t be beat.”

And as the other parents are lost in conversation or engaging with their phones, I’m in awe of the message I’m witnessing. I’m speechless at how it’s resonating with me. Nothing to do with softball or sports, and everything to do with life and grief and the heartache of living life with someone always missing. 

The girls cheer one last time and then disperse to head home. My daughter walks over to me with a smile as I ask her to repeat the cheer one more time. It’s one I haven’t heard them chant before. She repeats the phrase, “Day by day, we get better and better, until we can’t be beat.”– words I’ve already memorized in my head, just simply needing to hear them again.

“Day by day, we get better and better.”

Words that I needed to hear. Words that have gifted me the beautiful transformation of perspective. You see, day by day, year by year, I have gotten better. I’m so far from those first few days and weeks of losing my mother. I’ve stepped forward, even when I wasn’t sure I could. I’ve kept going, even after being knocked down again and again, with heartbreak and confusion. I’ve moved when I felt paralyzed and breathed when it felt like too big of a task. 

Day by day, I’ve gotten better. 

Day by day, you’ve gotten better too. 

It’s so hard to see your growth when you’re stuck in a rough patch of loss. It’s so hard to see how far you’ve come when the road has been fogged with the transformations caused by death of someone you love. It’s so hard to embrace the gratitude and the beauty of what remains when we’re longing so desperately for what was and who was once there. 

“Day by day, we get better and better, until we can’t be beat.”

Day by day, we get better and better, until the loss is overpowered by the love.

Day by day, we get better and better, until the grief is sprinkled with gratitude and hope.

Day by day, we get better and better, until the forever absence is overshadowed by the reminiscence of the memories and the limitless legacy we’ve been handed. 

Life has a way of sending us messages we desperately need, at just the moment we need them. Today, mine came from a girl’s softball team– a cheer that would encourage me, and hopefully you too. 

Day by day, we get better and better. 

One day at a time. 

One moment at a time.

Better and better, day by day. 

xox, Chels

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A wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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