First of all, aren't we all? I really want to acknowledge that we are living in some kind of tension. There is always something pulling us at least 2 different ways. I in no way want to minimize your pain and suffering and exalt our own, but this is where we are feeling it.
Gabby is a delight. She is demonstrative and full and energy and crazy and smart and silly and adorable. We have such fun together. We enjoy her for who God made her to be and have a total blast celebrating her. Here is our tension: often when we have a wonderful day as a family we feel both incredible joy and love and incredible pain that Liv wasn't here to celebrate the day with us. Now listen, I know she is always "with us" but she is no longer physically present with us. Brian and I talk about her a lot on family days. Talk about what she liked, what she would have thought about what we did, what she would think about Gabby, how tall she would be...the list goes on. We feel like thats an honest way to bring her memory into our daily lives without making the day all about her.
I used to have a lot of anxiety about whether we were doing this whole mourning and grieving thing right. I have come to point that I can acknowledge there is no "right". We want to celebrate and remember Liv. We want Gabby to feel that she can talk to us about her sister any time. But, we do not want to uphold Liv to something she was not or make Gabby feel that she is in the shadow of her sister's memory. We are living (and so are you) on this pendulum swinging continuum. And by the way can I say I hate that? I want rules and laws and just tell me outright what to do. Life, somewhat unfortunately, is not about that.
But, what you gain is a full, honest, difficult life full of struggle that has brought us, anyway, to a clearer and more front row seat to God. In the realm of suffering, many theologians have spoken of the difference between knowing about God and really experiencing God. We are grateful now for our suffering. We are grateful for Liv's rest and glory with Jesus. We are grateful for the tension of daily living so that we see we are not capable of solving everything in the world and see very clearly how much help we need. Help, we believe, that can only be sufficiently and ultimately satisfied in Jesus.
Tension is not comfortable, but it is necessary.