I'm not better. I don't sleep better. I still don't cook or clean, and I rarely want to move. But, the thing is, I don't WANT to be better. Not right now. Not just yet. And you know what? That's ok. It doesn't always feel ok, and I complain about not feeling better all the time, but the idea of letting go of even a small part of the pain I'm in now, terrifies me. It feels as though relinquishing it takes me further and further away from the time that my son was still physically a part of my life.
So, if you are so inclined to give an opinion, please do so directly to me. I will gladly explain the pain and horror I relive every single time I try to close my eyes. I'll give you a play by play of the sights and sounds of the last two years of my life. I'll try to do justice to the torment and utter despair that takes over every part of your being as your imagined control slips further and further from your grasp. I could take a stab at describing how differently the world looks when you have to learn how to live in the one where your children actually die. If you've never experienced this, you aren't in this world. Even if you're EXTREMELY close to the situation, you're not in it. You cannot possibly know what it's like to wonder every day, how you are supposed to find the strength to stand up, let alone be functional.
It's important that these things are said because grief is so lonely and unknown. It's full of so many emotions, all vying for their chance to inflict more pain and confusion. So full in fact, that there is no more room. Absolutely no room for even one ounce of judgement. The only role anyone has in someone else's grief is to be there to witness whatever they ask you to share with them. That's it. Nothing more. There will be times that you'll question their motives. There will be times that you'll wonder how other members of their family are dealing with their "current state of grief." My advice?...do so silently, or be prepared for an answer beyond your comprehension.
I can give some insight on parents who've lost a child, because that's what I've experienced. I would not pretend to understand what it means to lose your husband, your mother, your brother. I can tell you that losing one child and having others to take care of can be nearly impossible at times. However, that does not mean that I've lost my ability to love them. What you must remember is that I'm not parenting your children. I'm not parenting children who believe that missing out on a happy meal toy leaves them short-changed. I'm not parenting the little girl who throws a tantrum at every small injustice, or the boy who thinks that having the newest video game is a right and not a privilege. My children are certainly spoiled in their own right, but they know better than most adults that you don't always get what you want. They know that Mommy and Daddy don't always have the answers.
As a family, we have moments of unfathomable pain, but we also share smiles and even giggles. If you do not currently live in my home, you don't see my 5 year old reading books on the couch every night before bedtime. You don't see the way we look through old photo albums when our children want another glimpse of the little boy who no longer gets to participate in family game night. You don't see the torture on our faces as they turn the pages and each memory slices through us with renewed pain. And still, we do it. Why? Because our children need it in that moment. And we will continue to do that...together. However, this is something only the 5 of us can do. No one can fix it. No one can offer suggestions as to how we support one another. The truth is, my husband and I are the best people for this job right now. Our children couldn't be parented by people who still believe they have any reason to pass even the smallest judgement. They're wise beyond their years, but in ways that burn your soul. They can't hear general platitudes and claims that "everything will be better."
Things are not going to be "better." I know that makes people uncomfortable, but we honestly have no room for anyone else's comfort. We're trying to breathe. Some days are harder than others. Some moments are full of crushing pain. Sometimes we do it together and sometimes we can't bear to witness the pain of another, so we find a way to be alone with our grief.
It's also important to mention that we're inundated with support and love. We feel it from friends and family daily. Sometimes it's all that keeps us going. We'll forever be grateful for the strength of our community. But no one can save us from this. We will always be alone in our journey because it is ours and ours alone. If you're so inclined to be there when we're able to live again, we'll welcome you with open arms. Just don't ever expect us to be "better."