Tuesday, May 5, 2015
The weird thing about living in a shattered world is that you never know when you will fall in the next crevasse. Things have been going really well for the last few weeks. Sometimes it feels like they are going too well. It’s like one of those mountain explorer movie where everything is going great. The explorers are almost to the next base camp. Then, wham! Somebody falls into a crevasse and drags half the supply down with them. I often think of describing life with the grief of loosing my child as a rollercoaster. But rollercoasters are thrill rides and this is certainly not. Don’t get me wrong, life still has some amazing thrills in store for me. I just know it! But I still struggle daily with the grief.
No one on the outside would ever know how much pain is on the inside. Isn’t that the way we approach all of life? Seriously, with the exception of the fact that I can’t get through broadcasting prayer time on the radio without breaking up a little and crying, no one would ever know I’m still grieving. Sometimes that makes me feel a little guilty. I use to feel guilty about leaving Maddy at home while I worked or to go out with friends. Now I feel guilty about not crying for her more often. I know it’s stupid because Maddy would not want me to be sad all the time. She told me so before she died. So why do I sometimes feel guilty about being happy when I know thats what she wanted?
Back to the shattered world I live in. It’s really weird how the littlest thing can suddenly snap me back to Maddy’s last few weeks. Seeing her friends still grieving for her on Facebook is probably one of the most common ones. I can hardly scroll through my news feed without seeing her picture pop up. If not in an actual post then in so many of her friends who still have selfies of them and Maddy posted as their profile pictures. It’s wonderful and painful at the same time.
I just returned from my annual benefits audit for work. You know what I’m talking about, that annual check in where they make sure all your information for insurance is correct. Our diocese hires out a company to travel around to the parishes and schools to accomplish this without everyone having to travel across to St. Pete to make it happen. Which is very kind of them. The same person comes by every year and we sit down with her for a few minutes and the inevitable chit chat goes on while we wait for the slow computer to catch up. First question out of her mouth is “how are your kids”. I knew this was coming because she is a very kind person and always remembers (she probably keeps notes) from year to year. But hearing the words and knowing the response I inevitably have to give is always like a punch in the gut. Then comes the also inevitable attempt at kind words that always makes both people uncomfortable. It’s not anyones fault and there really isn’t anything anyone can do about these kind of interactions that must take place. But sometimes I just wish they didn’t have to happen at all.
The other day I experienced what I believe is my first little feeling of regret. I had one of those moments when I knew Maddy was visiting me in the form of a butterfly. It was a beautiful moment and I know she sent it to let me know that everything was alright. That she approved of the way I am living life. But the only thoughts my mind would entertain at that moment were “why couldn’t we have had just a few more good weeks together?” I wanted so much for Maddy to be happy for just a little bit longer. To share some moments of laughter together.
The afternoon we came home from IVIG we were both so hopeful that it would give her some more good times. As we walked slowly across the front lawn into the house Maddy saw a butterfly hovering around in the flowers, aka weeds, that were growing in the lawn. She was so happy to see that butterfly. When she pointed it our I was sure it was a sign of good times to come. But moments later Maddy couldn’t breathe and that was the beginning of the end. I wanted that week to be so different. I wanted that butterfly to be remembered as the herald of a bounce back to good health. Even if it was for only a short time.
I miss Maddy more and more each day. I try to walk through life remembering the good times. I try to live a life that will make Maddy proud of me. I try not to burry my grief while simultaneously not bringing down everyone in the room every time I enter. It’s hard to walk through this world full of hurt all the time and not make the people around you uncomfortable. I don’t know if its healthy or not. I don’t know if I’m doing grief “right”. All I know is that the pain never goes away. It’s just that sometimes I am on top of the ice and other times I fall through the crevasse where I am stuck in the cold darkness of my loss.