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Monday, August 15, 2016

Don't Have to Be Superman

I've become a pretty big fan of Rachel Platten lately. So many of her songs describe, quite accurately, the relationships I have with a few very special people. I heard a new one today, and I fought tears as I listened. It's the perfect description of the man in my life, my partner, my husband.
We've had our share of roller coasters throughout our life together. No one thinks it's a good idea when you start dating your teacher at age 18. But it works. So, what should have been a rocky start was kind of one of the most beautiful times of my life. Losing our son took difficult to a whole new level. When you lose a child, your tunnel of grief prohibits you from truly "seeing" anyone else. Or at least that's the way it's been for me.
But not Jeff...that's not how he operates. Grief meant he would open himself up like a giant umbrella, sheltering everyone else around him from experiencing more pain. He poured himself into our children, our friends, our families, making sure that everyone else was "ok". All while his wife was curled in a ball, wishing that the world would stop spinning, and that death would come quickly.
I'm not saying that either of us have done it "correctly". It's just how our grief happens to work. And thankfully it did, because I'm always saying that relationships will forever be 70%/30%, you just never know who's going to be taking the 70% for the time being. And I honestly can't tell you which was which there in the beginning. Was it Jeff who took the 70, because he "pushed through" with normal life while I crumbled? Or was it me? Was it the person who felt all things deeply and openly, and sometimes loudly? I don't know. What I do know is that whatever we've done in the past 3 years has been the only way we could have done it. It's our journey and no one else's. We've had to do things our way.

I'll never understand how Jeff functioned the way he did,  for as long as he did. But I'm grateful. I watched him from under my blankets as I curled inside myself and I saw him do what he needed to do to keep breathing.

Neither of us are heroes. Neither of us could begin to counsel someone on how to "do" marriage after child loss. I'm not even sure we ARE doing it some days. Sometimes we'rejust existing. But somewhere in the middle of the darkness, we reached out and have found each other. We know one another better now than ever before. I take no credit for that, because I truly believe that life just happens and you roll with what comes. I'm grateful that we rolled into one another once again.

We're not always on the same page, of course. And sometimes I bring out parts of him that he'd rather I left alone! But, despite our differences, we're surviving. One moment at a time. We're still reaching and sometimes finding one another, other times not so much. But we're reaching.

Our current life situation, involving the potential adoption of a child/children from Haiti, has stretched us even further. Somehow, in their combined brokenness, our hearts have grown bigger. We have our son to thank for that. And it is because of him that we have been able to maintain our 70%/30%. And I'm ready to take my turn. Whether that means I'm 70, or 30...I'm ready....You Don't Have to Be Superman.

If I could break away
half of all your pain
I'd take the worst of it and carry you like you carry me
You say that you're alright
when tears are in your eyes
We're strong enough for this and I need you
It's okay that you need me
So put your armor on the ground tonight
'Cause everyone's got to come down sometime

You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to hold the world in your hands
You've already shown me that you can
Don't have to be Superman

I know I've been gone too much
We talk about me too much
I'm selfish and distracted
But I'm here, I'm here and I'm listening
And it's just you and me and these four walls
And we are only human after all

You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to hold the world in your hands
You've already shown me that you can
Don't have to be Superman

And oh
You rest your eyes now, take my hand
Even heroes fall down now and then
You can let it go

You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to hold the world in your hands
You've already shown me that you can
Don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman

-Rachel Platten