Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"How're You Doing?"

I honestly have no idea how to respond when someone asks "How are you doing?"

There are some who are asking because they just do not know what else to say.  There are others who are asking because they care and are curious, but wouldn't know how to respond if I told them what was really in my heart.  Then there is a select group who are asking and who genuinely want to know how we really are doing and are prepared for whatever answer I give.   (I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this assessment, if you've ever been on the receiving end of this question in a similar situation...you have probably already figured it out.)

For now, each group gets a different answer.  The first group will get the standard, "We're doing okay, really."  The second group gets the slightly more honest, "Well, we're as okay as we can be."  Then there's the third group.

The third group has only a handful of people in it and they are probably the only ones who will ever get the truly honest answer when they ask me this question.  Some days, the honest answer is one of the above.  Right now, the honest answer can vary from day to day, hour to hour, and even minute to minute. 

I have moments that feel shockingly normal.  For just a split second, life feels like it hasn't really changed forever.  Almost as quickly as they come, those moments pass and I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and betrayal for even having those moments.  I do believe that someday we will find a "new normal" but for now, I'm not ready to feel normal.  These moments make me feel like I'm not grieving my son like I should or that I somehow love him less when I have them.  

There are also moments of devastating, crippling grief.  These are the times when I can't stop the tears and the sobs just won't let me catch my breath.  These are the moments when I am hurting and angry and there is a real physical ache to have my baby back in my arms.  In these moments, the thought of "normal" doesn't even exist for me and I can't imagine a world where it would exist.

The rest of the time...I just feel numb.  It's like I am just existing in some weird "twilight zone" where everything around me looks just like it always has, but nothing is actually the same.  I find myself frequently just staring into space...I have no idea what I am thinking about or where my mind has gone, but I'm not really here at those times.  This is when it is easy to lie and say, "We're okay."  It's less painful than stepping outside of my numbness to find an honest answer.

I know, in my heart that we are not okay and I suspect that even when I tell people this, they probably know it isn't true.  The reality is this:  we get out of bed each morning, we all get fed and dressed.  Then we try to get out of the house for a little while.  We'll come home and eat the food that friends and family have lovingly provided for us (and thank God for that!!).  Then the girls take a bath, get their story time and go to bed.  Chris and I stay up for hours doing random things until we are finally so exhausted that we have to try to get some sleep.  We wake up in a few hours and do it all again. 

So the answer to the question is this:  We are functioning, but we are not okay. Not yet. 

1 comment:

  1. Katie, anyone who expects you to " be doing well" at this point is an idiot. I would be shocked if you were. You just have to do your best at the moment, and "normal" will return. But we all know it will be a new normal. And you will be able to laugh in the sun one day soon.