I've been wearing a new necklace around my neck these days*.  I actually bought it for myself.  It says "STRENGTH".

It used to make me so mad when people told me I was strong in the early days of my grief.  I hadn't shown anyone strength yet.  What were they talking about?  I wanted to die and mostly slept all of the time.  Where is the strength in that?  (I know that when I say I wanted to die, you think it is a figure of speech - it isn't.  I wanted to die.  I don't say it lightly....AT ALL).  So how was I strong?  Because a horrific thing happened to my baby?  That didn't make me strong.  That made me unlucky.

To get to where I am TODAY has taken strength.  To get to a place where I can manage the nonsense of daily life, where I can be in the moment with Mo or anyone else and feel complete joy, to accept that my life will never be what I had hoped and that my child, who was my everything will never have any life at all - THAT takes strength.

It was too soon when everyone started telling me I was strong.  It was too much pressure.  I didn't want to be strong, I wanted to crumble.  You've gotta let people crumble when their lives fall apart.  It has to be ok to completely crumble.  Please start being ok with that.  It is THE kindest thing you can do for another human being in pain.  LET THEM CRUMBLE.  They don't need to be strong.  They have ENOUGH on their plates.  Trust that they will find their strength eventually.  They will have no choice.  Until then - you can go ahead and be strong for them.  Be strong by sitting with them even though it is uncomfortable for you.  Be strong by telling them how sick you are that this happened to them. Be strong by allowing yourself to crumble as well.  Expose your vulnerability.


I wear the necklace not because I think I am so strong but because I am finally in a place where I WANT to be strong.  The necklace is my mantra.  I am ready to be STRONG.  And I am proud that I have made it this far.  I AM STRONG!

Those of you in the ickiest, creepiest, most horrific dark tunnels of pain - you will be STRONG one day too.  Until then, it's ok to crumble.  Surround yourself with others who are willing to crumble with you and a few strong people too.

*My mom is wearing the SAME necklace.  We are STRONG!


GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

I always look forward to reading your posts each day. It's good to see that you are feeling better and stronger now. You give hope to the rest of us.

Taryn said...

Insightful and wise. I love how you make a point to bring people back to the basics and reality of what a loss looks like. You’d think this stuff should be obvious, but so often people go into some strange 'la-la land' where logic is absent when someone they know experiences a great loss. You are always good to walk people through, step-by-step, what that pain feels like, and how they can actually be of best support (and what really is more hurtful than helpful). It must be incredibly frustrating to have to do this, but I always appreciate that you speak with such candor and common sense that is all-too-often painfully lacking when we are faced with grief. I know you’ve enlightened my understanding, and I am positive you have lent support to those who are grieving at this moment. I admire your honesty, compassion and STRENGTH!