It’s the omnipresent question, the simple to ask, yet unanswerable in under 30mins question that is dutifully asked by all those near and dear:
“So..how are you going…really?”
Is easier to respond with flippancy. “Not too bad thanks”, “on the up and up” or my personal favourite: “as good as can be expected”, which perfectly leaves the question unanswered but hints at the enormity of a full response.
I used to go into the full details of how I was feeling, but two things have happened over time. One, I realised that although the vast majority of people really do care deeply about how I’m feeling, there were very few that actually wanted to hear me drone on about it. I’m no different mind you, sometimes to focus on someone else’s woes is simply too much hard work. We are an emotionally narcissistic and time poor society these days. And that’s ok. Believe me I know what its like to have enough mental stress on board that there is no room left for deep concern of others’.
Secondly, and most importantly, I have found that my grief has progressed (or is it regressed?) to a very personal level. I have done my public sorrow. I have cried on enough shoulders to last a lifetime. The moments of sadness that spring from nowhere are of an intimate kind now. Little things that were mine and Renee’s alone. Little memories, sweet or sour, that define a relationship and when remembered, can bring a smile and tear as one.
My days are mostly just like yours to be honest. Laughs, yelling, work (occasionally 😃 ), cooking, yelling, picking up, dropping off, some more yelling, shopping, cleaning, bedtime stories, baths and sometimes even a few minutes to myself. Nothing unusual really. They are just intertwined with these moments and memories. Some days they make me smile and think how lucky I was to have such a perfect marriage and partner in life. Some days I struggle to hold back the tears at every turn. Some days I feel complete apathy for anything and everything. And some days I am just totally bewildered at what has happened and simply can’t comprehend that she is not here anymore.
But this life thing, it keeps bloody going doesn’t it? It serves no purpose at all to just sit back and lament my situation. It would dishonour the memory of Renee and our life together if I didn’t put in 110% (ok, some days it’s closer to 50%) to being there for the two beautiful children she gave us. She would be rightly pissed off if I let this beat me down constantly, so I don’t. The days I smile are starting to win out. The days I don’t will always come along, which is ok, because there is no end to this. It’s a journey, a change to the soul that can’t be fixed and shouldn’t be fixed. Because its part of what now makes me me. It’s about learning to accept the down times for what they are and celebrating the good ones even more.
So if I ever respond with flippancy to such a caring question, it’s not because life is all rainbows and fucking unicorns, its just that right now I am ok. It’s a smile-at-the-memories kind of day. It’s a living life kind of day, and I really don’t want to slide back down that path at the moment. But thank you for asking, because even if I don’t respond as expected, it really does help to know people care. Oh, and feel free to buy me beer (plural). Anytime.