I get up every morning with the sun (or before as I don’t sleep much these days). I shower, feed the kids, we work hard at school, we run to piano, swim lessons, the bank, the grocery store. I smile at all the right people, make the necessary eye contact, and speak politely to the friendly mom sitting next to me.
But I’m not there. The person you see isn’t me. I don’t really know who that blond haired woman is.
I’m a bundle of emotions-sad, fearful, depressed, angry, lost, and empty. Did you know empty is an emotion? I didn’t either.
People ask me how I am. Those close to me look me in the eye and inquire, wanting a deeper answer. I tell everyone we are pushing through the best we can because I don’t know what else to say. I can’t explain to them that much of the time I feel empty, alone, exhausted. How do I tell them that their friend, daughter, sister died back in August? The person standing in front of them is not who they think she is. The happy, enthusiastic woman I once was is gone, replaced by a stranger I never thought I’d become.
I react now to things that I never would before, but what bothers me more are the times I don’t react. The days I am not rushing around cleaning, cooking healthy meals, creating fun projects. These are the days I don’t care. The little boys stay in their pajamas and I forget to brush their teeth. The older kids need help in school and I tell them to skip it. We will do it tomorrow. They beg me to play with them, but I can’t. I don’t want to play. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to feel.
Days go by, weeks, months, holidays, birthdays, fun days. I bring the kids, laughing and joining in because that is what I have to do to get by, too survive, to not disappear into my hole. I need to put my living kids first. They need a mom, right?
They don’t realize their mom died with their sister.
In the beginning, I was so overcome with grief that I could see nothing else. People surrounded me, tried to hug my hurt away, told me time will lessen the pain, the first months are the hardest. I wondered at the time how I could possibly live through such pain. Why don’t more people die from a broken heart?
I can honestly say that I made it through that deep grief, but the place I’m in now is not better. I’m in an unnamed space watching the world go on around me and unable to join it. I am lost.
I have lost myself in grief. It swallowed me up and spit out some other woman. I do not know who she is.
Grief is a strange creature because it is constantly changing. It is unpredictable and cruel, but then it lets up for a second and you realize that you are still alive. Recently, I have had moments when Caleb made me laugh hard and I remembered how we used to joke around. Moments when I knelt down in front of Micah, looked into his hazel eyes, and focused on what he was saying to me. I chased my crazy little Joshua around the house, relishing the sounds of his excited squeals. Joel started calling me “mama” in a sweet, tiny voice and my heart melted.
I cooked Micah’s favorite breakfast- just for him (and because our hens are laying a dozen eggs a day and we have them coming out of our ears!). He said “oh, I love this egg bake!” and I smiled because I love him.
Sometimes I wish the hurt would go away. Everyone understands this, but what they don’t get is that I wish this impostor would go away also.
I wish I could be the old me-the me that died.
There are no words of wisdom nor verses that come to mind. My only hope is that “this too shall pass”.