How can I be ‘okay’?

its ok

Most moments of my new life I am completely okay… I don’t walk around and cry, I laugh, I run, I smile, I eat lots, I talk at events and tell Maddie’s story, I take my girls to the same schools I took Maddie… I immerse myself in the really, really hard stuff and I can still walk and breathe.  I can not for the life of me figure out how.  I wonder if I am pretending to be okay, so much so that I can not tell that it is not real… or if I am in so much shock still that it hasn’t hit me yet… or if this is just the way it will be for me.  Mostly I fear the middle, that one day I will wake up and be knocked over and done when my mind finally catches up and realizes I have a whole life before I will see Mads.  I am terrified that this will happen. 

In a way I know that I feel all of my grief, sometimes I put it off until I am in a ‘safe’ place for my heart and brain (like not in a classroom reading children’s books, not on a busy highway in the slippery snow and not in front of a bunch of people who will touch me and hug me and try to make me feel better)… I know that when I feel this way, this heavy and hard and full of pain… I jump right in.  I fill my moments and brain with all the pain.  When I feel the saddest and heaviest and lowest and physically let out how much I miss Maddie, I go through her things, I watch videos and look at pictures, I read her old homework… I bury myself in the hard blanket.  I love that pain.  So weird to me, to want to feel so much of that kind of pain… I think my fear is that if I didn’t do it this way I would run away from it and feel it later… I also feel and remember the most in these blocks of pain.  Maybe this pain is a gift… I don’t know.  I almost look forward to these times.

I was sitting with my mother-in-law’s and she was talking to me about Maddie and how the pain hits her so hard and at the weirdest moments.  She wondered about it getting better, or maybe at least not being so often and in weird moments… we talked a while about what I know and what I have been told… and where she could go for a group or some people.  I know how helpful it is to have a person, or some people that get it… and just listen… Now that my brain has had some time to process I think I could explain this almost differently to her. 

“These moments will change.  Someday, maybe soon, they won’t hit with such a ‘BAM’.  Someday they will serve as a reminder, and help us know that we haven’t gone far from our lovely… she is still right here in our life.  As we move through life, it won’t feel so raw- it will always hurt… but the hurt becomes us… for how can you suffer such a loss and not hurt for forever?  I think I love the hurt… the hurt brings me back from the now… brings me back to my lovely.  My biggest advice (even though I am still new and early and still unbelievably broken) would be to feel it, ride the pain… let it bring you back to the before.”

So how am I ‘okay’?  Honestly, I have no idea how I move, run, email, call, function, laugh, smile, enjoy, cry, think… any of that… I guess time will tell.  I will update (or have Matt) if I take a trip to the Looney bin soon…

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