When You're Not Fine
Dear you (whoever you are),
You may know me personally, or not at all. But I know you. I don't know your entire story or struggle, however, I know the weight you feel when experiencing the death of someone close to you.
I also know the answer you give, when people ask how you are: "I'm fine."
We both know that this isn't the truth, but is a convenient way to keep others at an arm's length and feeling comfortable. The day that your loved one died, marked the start of a painfully long and unwanted chapter of your life. It's also a chapter that you couldn't and wouldn't change because you would never give up knowing that person as they were. The mix of those two thoughts is maddening and disorienting at times. But you can do this, so here are some things to remember:
Keep people close. Don't push people away. They're not the ones causing pain, and usually will be there for you during your fall and the rising afterwards. I cannot begin to tell you how valuable the people around me have been after Colton's death. I'm a fairly strong-willed person, but I still occasionally need someone to tell me that my world is not crumbling around me, to diffuse my restlessness with humor, or to just be there to talk. If you're one of my people, just know that at times you are/were a lifeline. Find your people.
If you need to let it out, do it. In any healthy way that makes you feel better, even if it's temporary. Sometimes, I need to get away from anxious thoughts, so I release those with exercise... or adult coloring books. Seriously, that was my escape from anxiety during doctor's rounds when my son was inpatient. I would be constantly coloring because it helped. The things that help me, may not be the case for others. Do what helps you.
That hole in your heart will never go away, but I've found that it will evolve. No, you won't be the same person you were before your loved one died, but you will change for the better. A beautiful soul is never forgotten, so celebrate your loved one by doing something meaningful. That person and your memories of them are rooted deep in your soul. Don't hide it! Use it to change the world... or even one person's world.
Remember how I said you're not fine? You're not, but that's okay. I have days where I feel on top of the world, and then days like today. I'm not fine. Remember, when you feel like everything around you is crumbling, and you feel so utterly alone, you couldn't be further from the truth. You don't know me, and I don't know you, but you do not have to be the "strong one." Not today.
A woman who gets it