“Things are not always as they seem.”
As time continues forward, this maze of grief keeps getting more and more complicated. I thought, in the beginning of this journey, my struggles would be the most obvious and the most difficult. However, I am learning that even the very menial of tasks requires greater effort for those that carry the load of grief.
Let me tell you a story.
Recently I had a breakdown. Everyone’s grief comes out in different ways. Mine tends to be built up emotions until I implode or explode. On this particular day, it was both.
I am incredibly thankful for my husband and how much more in tune with my emotions he is than the average man. He even knows me better than I know myself at times.
My day had brought an unusual amount of chaos to begin with. But the iceberg of emotions and anxiety underneath the waters were much bigger and my ship was about to crash into them.
Husband:“What is going on? Why are you so stressed out?”
Me: “Do you really want me to list all the things?”
As I began to spew out all that was going on in my life, from grocery shopping trips that needed to be made, to laundry to be done, and then relationships that needed tweaking, I began to get out of control. I brought up events that were happening three months from now that would need a babysitter. I mentioned a family visit that would be months and months away that I was already thinking through and planning out. I spilled my guts about the stress over buying a gown for an gala in late fall and the whole time my husband looked at me baffled.
“But that is months away. Why are you thinking about that now? That is just not normal.”
“And Clara’s haircut was too short today and reminds me of Molly’s haircut right before diagnosis. I chopped it off because she would always cry when I brushed her hair. And I miss her so much this week. It has been an awful Molly week.”
There it was.
Hanging in the air were the very emotions that had been the driving force of all anxiety and stress that week.
I missed her.
Why was I so surprised that these emotions were lingering? Why would I be caught off guard by the fact that some days I still have a hard time functioning?
The answer is because I see myself as weak when I feel. I put this unimaginable pressure on myself some days to just “get over it” and remind myself that I will see Molly again. I tell myself that if I keep busy enough and don’t gaze at her pictures that I will be OK for another day.
Lies. All lies.
Grief does not equal weakness.
I liken the load of grief to that of the life of a morbidly obese person.
Hear me out.
Those that weigh 500 lbs or more carry a very heavy load on their body. Everyday, the task of rising out of bed is equivalent to us lifting one or two people out of bed with us. The task of walking up a flight of stairs requires so much energy, muscle use, and balance. I actually looked it up and the average morbidly obese person has a higher muscle content than an average size person simply for the weight that they carry. They are not weak. They are strong.
I see myself in the same light.
For a lifetime, I must carry this heavy, heavy load with me wherever I go. The mundane tasks of the day turn into marathons at times because I have to accomplish everything that the average person does all while carrying my sadness, my devastation, my broken heart.
It is not weak. It is strong.
It takes an exceptional amount of strength to function on a day to day basis, all while missing Molly.
And I do not say this to toot my own horn, but to shout out to all those that carry grief, we are strong.
Though we never chose this life, we still do it with a determination not to give up. We all have our different reasons why, but in the end, we get it all done.
So I write this with the intent of giving myself a free pass. If writing out a grocery list seems exhausting, that is understandable. If getting together with friends doesn’t always sound enjoyable, that is perfectly acceptable. If not always being the fun mom for summer vacation is where I am at, we will make it. Because there is no doubt in my heart or mind that I love my girls.
I always remind myself that the greater the love, the greater the loss. The reason that Molly is literally the first thought I have every single morning when I open my eyes is because my heart beat with hers and still does, just further away.