Thursday, December 13, 2012

525,600 minutes

It's been 525,600 minutes since you left us. 365 days of mourning, coping, grieving, loving, missing and living.

I can't understand how a year could have past while the pain can still feel so fresh. I can't imagine how I managed to make it through 365 days without your advice, support, love and company. But mostly, I can't imagine how many years there are yet to come without you.

I spent this first year trying to get through it. And now that we're on the other side, I'm left with the realization that I have many, many more years yet to come. That is a daunting realization. How do I learn to be a Mother without one? How do I learn how to be myself without your guidance? How do I decide if the cough is bad enough for a call to the pediatrician? How do I redecorate my apartment without your advice on where the couch should go?

I miss you so much, Mommy. I miss your smile, your enthusiasm, your sense of adventure. I miss your reassurance. Your sense of just knowing. Mostly though, I miss your friendship. Your calls to just say hello and see how the boys where doing. The daily "How did he sleep last night?" or the "those shoes just went on sale...". The plans to have dinner after work or to take an adventure to Petra. I just miss you.

And after spending 365 days focused on getting through the first 365 days, I'm now faced with this bitter reality that there are endless days yet to come. But I am strong and I am brave. And now matter how difficult the day may be, I move forward. I am living. And for that I am proud, and I know that you are too.

I love you, Mommy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Toughest Week.

I'm wishing that I could just pretend that this week doesn't exist. That I could hibernate somewhere in a sedated state where I don't need to think, feel or pretend that everything is ok. I wish I could just disappear and come back next Monday. Come back as myself. The me before cancer.

Shallow wishes, I suppose. But I can't help but wish them anyway. 

This will be the toughest week. I know this, because it already is. 

Channeling deep breathes and my bravest face. 

I will be ok, even if it isn't the ok that I want to be.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Are You OK?

When things got really hard; I stopped writing. Mostly because I didn't have anything positive to say. And saying negative things just feels like your attention (or sympathy) seeking or just generally being a downer. And though the truth is that my life is full of wonderful things worthy of deep gratitude, it also really, really sucks sometimes.

Grief is the worst feeling that I've ever encountered. It's unlike anything I've ever know; gut-wrenching, agonizing pain and sadness muddled with anger, helplessness, resentment, sorrow and uncertainty. Everything that you've ever known suddenly doesn't make sense. The faith that I'd always innately had isn't there anymore. It comes in waves and without warning. Grief is paralyzing. Next in line after grief is loneliness. Another empty, painful feeling that can knock you immediately off balance. Being surrounded by people while feeling completely alone is horrible. Empty. Watching everyone else's life move on while yours is still shattered in a million pieces on the floor. Spending all of your energy walking through life with a smile on your face, trying to be some fraction of the person you once knew... Life is lonely, because it is no longer yours. Life becomes about making everyone else feel better, to let them all believe that you're OK.It's lonely because no one ever asks.

Once in a while I'd get an "Are you Ok?" thrown my way. I hate that phrase. It forces a halfhearted "yeah; fine." to make someone else feel like they've done their duty. It's an out to asking the real question, which is "how are you?" With time you learn to cope. And you learn to deeply appreciate the people who aren't too afraid to ask the ladder question. You learn how to move forward, even when you don't want to. You learn that you are strong. And enough.

I am stronger than I ever imagined. And I am OK, regardless of how I feel in a given moment. I am OK and I no longer doubt that I will be OK.

I say this now, because I think I've lived through the worst of it. I am absolutely still grieving, but I've learned to cope. I have a handful of incredible, brave family and friends who have consistently been willing to ask me, to cry with me, to listen and to just be with me. They have helped carry the weight of this for me. They are forever written into my story and I am forever grateful for their support.

But what I want to say is if you know someone who is grieving. Someone who is hurting for any reason, stop being so afraid to ask them. Yes, it's painful to hear our loved ones hurt. But they are hurting either way. Be strong enough to bare some of their weight, even if only for a few minutes. Don't ask then if they are ok. Ask them what you actually mean; ask how they are. Ask how they are coping. Realize that they have to be brave every day. Let that encourage you to be brave, too. 

I have drafted many posts about these feelings of loneliness, but it never felt right to post. It seemed like the most desperate attempt at soliciting attention. The reason that I've decided to post it this time because I know now that I am OK. But I hope that this will benefit someone else who is hurting. Or better yet, that it will make all of us take a moment to consider our intentions when planning our actions so that what we say is what we mean. Be brave, friends. It's worth it.