Sunday — another holiday without Amy but no worries because many will remind me to focus on the resurrection and not on who is missing from my life. However, the resurrection makes me think of my daughter. Go ahead and call me a self-absorbed Mom who misses her kid and who wishes my daughter would walk in the door on Sunday — even if it’s only for a visit. Okay, so we all know that’s not going to happen so now I will be reminded by all of the “experts”, and boy oh boy do they come out of the woodwork loaded with wisdom when one loses a child, to make my new normal. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Talk to the hand I want to scream! Do not ask me to ever do what you are not prepared to do yourself.
How about if my old normal felt good and I want to leave well enough alone? How about if I do not want to make new memories on every holiday? How about if my family decides to just have pizza and pretend Sunday is just another day in paradise because the effort it takes to create a new normal takes too much energy? How about if I already used up all of my energy getting through Monday through Saturday?
Don’t get me wrong, Easter means something to me as I can still cry when I even think about Jesus hanging on that cross and I am grateful He was resurrected. For anyone who wants to twist my words, well, let’s just say I am growing accustomed to being misunderstood, so go for it.
Keeping up appearances for Christmas had me spiraling to a place of deep despair. The pressure to engage in any of the holiday hoopla crippled me. I remember one woman who was decked out in her red and green Christmas sweater carrying a shopping bag full of presents asking me how I was doing and when I answered her honestly, she said “remember Jesus is the reason for the season.” Guess she told me.
On Saturday, I will have existed in a world for 20 months without Amy and let me tell you, new normal is overrated. I am done with the pressure of working so hard to reassure others that I am just fine because guess what? I am not fine. Life without Amy still hurts. But I love my husband, children and family and friends who have stuck by me so I will continue to fight to survive for them. But I am done with this new normal crap. From now on, I am going to be real — ok maybe I already am — but I am going to get more real.
In hindsight, I wished in those early months, someone would have said to me:
Be true to yourself.
Feel what you feel.
No one sets the timetable for how long it takes but you.
If someone mentions the word stuck, slug them.
The pain is debilitating and overwhelming and there will be times you wonder if you can cope one more minute … but as painful as it is, you have to survive. However, if you truly feel like you can’t go on, get help. Talk to someone you trust. Go to a support meeting. Find a counselor you connect with who specializes in grief.
The world will become unrecognizable.
Friends and even family will check out; compassion will come from unexpected places; new knowing friends will help.
Drink lots of fluids because crying is dehydrating, eat, get outdoors and walk, rest.
Your loved ones matter and they will always be important even though it will seem as if no one remembers or cares pretty quickly after the first few weeks.
Pay it forward and help another griever by showing the compassion you wished you had received.
You are not alone.
You are not targeted.
Your loss is significant.
Your child, brother, sister, loved one was here. Life without them hurts.
Happiness is not a choice in all circumstances.
You are in for the fight of your life.
Always remembering Amy.