I fumble clumsily in the dark, trying get my alarm to silence, pull my sweatshirt over my head and check in… what is my truth today? Too early, I decide. Coffee first. A piping hot dark roast with just enough cream is filled to the brim of my favorite insulated mug and I snuggle up with a blanket and a new book for a quiet hour before my day begins.
Ninety minutes later the rush has set in and I am caught up in a tornado of lunches and winter weather gear, checking the boxes in my head to ensure everyone has what they need before heading out for the day. Keira’s arms are full of things she wants to take “on the ride” as if we are heading out on a weeklong road trip. I remind her it is just ten minutes to school but she insists, and I cave, with a sigh. Hold this please momma, she instructs as she goes to get her bright blue sneakers off the shelf. I take one of the objects in her hand, trying my hardest not to look too closely… not to soak it in She notices my behavior and provides another instruction, LOOK at it momma. I glance at the picture collage and my heart starts to crack, my eyes start to fill. Not today. I have things to do today, meetings to engage in and a long list of things that need my focus. I cannot sit in this today.
The sun has come and gone and here we are again. That is the beautiful and brutal thing about life. The worst thing you can imagine happens, and the next day, the sun rises, you realize it was not a nightmare, again… and the world goes about their business.
You don’t want it to. You feel as if the earth should stop spinning on its axis and split down the middle, as it to take part in your unbearable pain. But no. Life marches on and the Instagram feed continues to be filled with birthday’s, proposals, weddings, new babies, celebrations, family vacations and what feels like one million reminders of what you don’t have. Anymore.
Last night a “Facebook friend” and fellow DIPG mom posted about it being her son’s birthday. He would have been nine. I had a moment for her, imagined her pain, offered up a prayer for peace, and typed three words in the box. I see you.
Some might have wondered why I would write such a thing. To me, I see you, lets her know I am bearing witness to the painful and horrible events that are unfolding in her life, and allows her pain to be hers. Yes, I could have written, I know exactly what you are going through. Hang in! Stay strong! But I didn’t. Because I don’t. And also, because that is not helpful. Ever. At all. That post was about her, and her son, her family and her pain… not mine. I see you, allows it to be hers, but also lets her know that she is not alone. Because it sure does feel lonely, as the world continues on and you are left looking down at what feels like the broken remains of your life.
We all have pain. Sharing it makes us feel less alone. It lets us know that there are others out here under the waves, being crushed by big rocks, trying to make it to another day. Our rocks are different. They vary in weight and size, and we truly don’t know how it feels to be under that exact rock. Remember that the next time you are ready to tell someone you know how they feel, or you know exactly what they are going through. Because you don’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bear witness to their struggle and let them know, I am here. I got you.
Thank you for sharing your pain with me. I was overwhelmed by the honesty and courage in your stories. I read them with tears streaming down my face, whispering to the screen, I see you.
I write to you from the glider I nursed all three of my babies in. The place you will find me every other night, when it is my “turn” to sit with Keira while she falls asleep, something we have struggled with since the rose colored glasses hit the ground and shattered into unfindable pieces.
Keira went to bed one night and Lea was there, sleeping. The next day Lea was gone and never came back. I might imagine that would create a feeling of fear and uncertainly in a four year old. And so, here I glide, writing my truths.
Hi, I’m Christa. Today I feel tired in every sense of the word. My body is tired, my mind is tired, my soul is tired, my spirit is tired, every part of me is tired. Today, my grief feels as if I am being pinned under a large rock. The weight of the boulder is there all of the time, but several times a day, a smaller rock pierces me and adds to the pain. Every morning I wake and pray that today is the day the rock will be lifted. I am hopeful that day will come soon. It always does. The waves pull you down and hold you under, but eventually, you come up for air. Hopefully tomorrow, there will be some air.