Watching me go about my life does not accurately match what is going on inside my head. If anyone could magically look inside there, they would be taken aback by what they saw. They would probably wonder as well….’How the hell does she do it so well?’
A comment was recently directed towards me that made me question what others thought of me. What were their expectations or what perceptions did they have of me? Could I really an anomaly to them? During a meeting, a coworker made a very funny comment to the group that had us all laughing hysterical. I probably laughed the loudest and added to the ongoing laughter by sharing my own funny story. We laughed some more and continued to make silly remarks throughout the meeting. Once the large group dispersed, this particular person turned to me and said ” I don’t think I could be as brave as you. I would be locked up in some padded room drugged up and crying all the time. I am so in awe of you. How do you do it? How do you go on so ‘normal‘?” I am sure I looked a bit perplexed but respectfully smiled and replied, “What choice do I have?” She sympathetically nodded and went on her way. I stood there for a minute or so, carefully dissecting her words, all the while thinking…Normal?
I am sure her comment was not intended by any way, shape or form to be hurtful or ill intended. But, it got me thinking…what is expected of us? Those whom have lost their children? There really is no one word to describe us. Spouses are called widows or widowers, parent-less children are called orphans. Yet, what name or title is to be given to us? Maybe pathetic, pitiful, lifeless, distressed, a sad unbearable piece of flesh? If you open a dictionary, I dare you to find ONE word that would even come close to conveying the pain we feel. You could find the saddest, most distressing and heart wrenching words in Webster dictionary, compile them into one and you still would not be close to a ‘describable’ word.
I should have responded to her “ Don’t be fooled. Yes, I have learned to allow my life to go on. I have chosen to be as normal as an un-normal person could possibly pretend to be but if you could only look inside my head, you would be shocked. You would never have guessed how difficult it truly is to ‘go on’…to be normal again.”
“If you could take peak inside, you would see clips of a movie. This movie is both a horror film and a love story. It is filled with suspenseful drama and heartbreaking scenes. More often than not, you do NOT want to re-watch it, but oh how our minds have minds have minds of their own. You would see how certain scenes are played over and over again and how certain parts get fast forwarded. Sometimes, you even get stuck on the saddest clip. You shake your head like one of those cartoon characters trying to get bolts and screws out of their brains but the scenes are still there. Be warned, this movie is not for the faint at heart. You would tremble in fear, curl up in a ball and even though every single fiber in your being tells you not to watch it again, you have no control over it. Just when you think you have come to the end, it replays all over. Closing your eyes or trying to drown out the sounds will do you no good. You are a hostage to it. Normal??? No..not really…maybe un-normaly normal.”
I need you to know that I still like to joke around. I LOVE that I can laugh again. I enjoy my friends, my family and a loud, lively fun filled evening. I relish dancing around with my grand babies and holding my husbands hand in bed. I am proud that I didn’t end up in a padded room, and I know exactly why I didn’t. Even though my handsome amazing, loving son left me, my other children did not…and I wasn’t about to leave them.