I don't belong here anymore. I don't fit. You can't live through this kind of pain and then function in the world that existed before your fall. Somehow people still care about mundane things. Even though they know he's gone, they still have the capacity to think about something other than the gaping hole he left. I don't. I can't focus on anything but the pain. How could I not? How do you ignore a fire in your chest? This is one flame that can't be extinguished. It can't be fixed. But, the difference between myself and everyone around me is that I know now that sometimes that's just the way things happen.
I question myself constantly. Did I try hard enough? Did I "fight" as people claim to be doing every day? Did I give up? I must have, right? I mean, if it's true that others are making it because they're fighting, the only logical explanation for someone who no longer has that option is that they've failed. I get in trouble for saying that. I'm berated for thinking that I could have done something to protect him, to have saved him from the Hell that he experienced. But tell me what I'm supposed to think. If it's true that you aren't at fault when your child is in pain, why do you keep trying to prevent it? Why do people continue to kill themselves to stay one step ahead of their children's happiness? And I'm not even talking about sick children. I'm talking about all parents doing everything they can to prevent even the smallest injustice from plaguing their child. The idea that anyone has any control over that makes me angry.
I'm angry because I couldn't protect my children. This is why I don't fit. I will never again worry about whether or not my child has a good nap, or the right cup to drink from, the best teacher, the right sports team, etc. None of that matters, and I know that. Anyone can read that sentence and see that of course those things don't matter, but you don't KNOW it until you KNOW it. Some would say that this type of thinking is a gift, a blessing even. You no longer concern yourself with details and are therefore able to focus on things that matter. But, I assure you, this is NOT a gift. It's isolating. The loneliness on this side of things is so overwhelming that it goes beyond description. How are you supposed to engage in conversation with friends and family when this is your way of thinking? How do you offer any insight into anything other than the giant, raw wound that permeates every part of you?
Sure there are times when I talk about other things. I can even be pretty convincing in certain conversations. But, I'm not fooling myself. The pain is still there. It's as strong as ever, even when I'm smiling. Just because I'm not sobbing at the moment doesn't mean that the pain has subsided even a little. It's jarring and crushing, all day long, every day. It doesn't go away when a fun day is planned. It isn't hiding during a perfect distraction. It's there. Always. Never leaving. This is not conducive to normal relationships with normal people. I hear them talk about typical life happenings and I'm overcome with emotion. I'm not angry at them. EVER. I'm jealous. I ache for the ability to assume anything is within my control.
I know what kind of response is elicited from a statement like that. "She's grieving. She's sad. She only thinks nothing is in her control because of the huge scar on her heart." But, I know better. I know the truth. The only question is, how do I live with that truth? I have to learn how to be a completely different person. Every decision I make, every response I have is a combination of the old me and the new me. The new me always gets more consideration. That, too, is no longer within my control.
My hair is the same. My eyes are the same blue. I still walk with the same stride. Even my smile can be faked enough to look like it always did. But, no matter how many similarities remain, the woman in the mirror is a complete stranger.