What do you tell the person that asks “How are you?” you know, the chipper “How are you?” in a high pitched voice, not the “How are you?” in a empathetic or concerned voice.
Do you tell them the truth? Do you tell them that you hardly got out of bed this morning. Do you tell them that your cried in your car in the parking lot convincing yourself to open the door. Do you tell that person that not only are you mourning the loss of your child but you are also mourning the loss of so many friends. You are mourning the loss of yourself. You are struggling with where you are in life. Do you tell them about how happy you were with your life just 7 short months ago. How you were meeting new people, developing your place in the community and now you have lost where you want to be, who want to be, what you want to be. Do you tell them that now you’re living in your reality where you have no place and it no longer feels like your reality. Do you tell them that you have no idea which friends will stick with you and be by your side while you make those discoveries.
What do you tell the person that you have opened up to and told you are struggling, you have asked them to give you time. You have asked them to give you space. But they just don’t. They just don’t get it. What do you tell them when they ask you ridiculous questions not having listened or respected a single word you said. Do you tell them that you are awful?
What do you say to the people that say they will do anything to help you, and you haven’t heard from them in months? They did their grief duty. Do you tell them? Do you reach out? What about the people that ask what they can do for you, and you tell them. You tell them you could check in more frequently. You could call. You could text. You could stop by. You could organize a get together. You could send a letter, a email. But none of that happens. Life goes on for them when your life as you knew it ended.
What do you say to the person that swears the only reason that you son died was because “he had to have had a chromosomal abnormality?” Do you swear to them that he didn’t. Do you have to explain to them that you did every single genetic test offered and they all came back clear. Do you tell them all about every single ultrasound that was performed. Do you even tell them about the super intense and special heart ultrasound that you did at 24 weeks just to make sure he didn’t have a heart problem. Do you explain to them that it doesn’t matter if he had a “problem” or not. Your son died.
What do you say to the people that can’t handle your grief? The ones that want nothing to do with you because you are too sad. Because you bring down the energy level. You cry too often. You talk too much about your feelings. You talk about scary things. Things that could happen to anyone. You talk about their worst nightmare. The one that is now your life. The ones that think you are selfish because you aren’t able to ask them about their lives. Yet. What about the people that refuse to read what you have written. When what you have written is truly the only way for them to know how you are doing. Unless they actually ask. Which they don’t.
What do you say to the people who just don’t get why you are still sad. Why you would still need support. Why you aren’t over it. Why you haven’t just moved on. What do you say to the people that think you should be “better by now.” Do you just lie? I do.
So, how am I?
I’m exhausted AND I’m surviving this bat shit crazy emotional rollercoaster.