I get asked this question a lot and yesterday I realized I am starting to sound sarcastic when I answer:
We are fine, I guess. We aren’t sure how we are supposed to be. This is new to us.
While I answer the question, a myriad of thoughts jumble in my mind:
My heart aches. My arms ache. How do YOU think I am? Am I doing this grief thing, this mourning thing all wrong? Did you ask my husband how HE is doing? He often only gets asked how his wife and daughter are doing. He’s grieving too. Why is he forgotten in all of this? How am I doing? I want Mikail back. I want to feel like we used to feel. I want to hold him. I want to hear him. I want to play games with him and read with him. I want to feel secure and void of the fear I feel when Olivia sleeps in a bit longer than her usual 6:50 a.m. and I am too paralyzed with fear to go and check on her. I want to feel healthy. I don’t really care who has been touched or changed because of our loss. I just want Mikail back. I just want Mikail back.
It’s exhausting, really. I need to find a better way to deal with this question, I suppose. It’s going to come up over and over again. It’s inevitable. Perhaps it is part of this journey of healing. I don’t know.
Recently I got up the courage to take the empty bins and baskets that Mikail’s school so lovingly filled with food, gifts, cards and letter, back to the school. I told myself I just had to walk through the doors and drop them off at the office and leave. God had a different plan. I was met by the principal who is filled with so much compassion and understanding. We talked for a bit and then she suggested we visit Mikail’s classroom.
NO! I thought. I can’t do this. I can’t walk that hall and see a classroom of 4 and 5 year olds that spent 7 hours a day with him.
But I did. We walked down the hallway and at the end I could see the row of jackets and backpacks, Mikail’s hook empty, but his picture still designating him a spot in his class. There were his indoor running shoes. The black and lime green ones that lit up with each step he took. He loved those shoes. The lump in my chest started to move up to my throat. The tears just one thought away.
We turned to go into his classroom and were met by the kids flocking to the door wanting to say hi. They all seemed to want to hug Olivia ~ perhaps have any close connection they could to their friend, gone so quickly? I don’t know. I tried to make small talk but had this urge to run. The tears were just too close. Mikail wasn’t there, where he was supposed to be, exploring and learning with all the other 4 and 5 year old friends of his. On our way out, I took his running shoes and a few other of his belongings that were in his cubby.
We made it back to the car and as I buckled Olivia into her seat, the sobs took over. I couldn’t keep them in anymore. The pain of it all was just too much. I knew in my mind that it was good that we came and it was good that we said hello to his classmates and teachers. I needed to do that, but it was hard. Really hard.
And after a day like that, I am exhausted...even after a night of (pretty good) sleep. I can’t stop the tears and couldn’t get myself composed enough to make it to Ladies Morning Coffee this morning. Somehow putting on make-up and a smile seemed like the most difficult task ever. And to concentrate on Paul’s Missionary Journey? Wishful thinking.
Then I was reminded that the past two days are days of mourning. Did you know there is a difference between grieving and mourning? Grief is the internal thoughts and feelings we have when someone we love dies. Mourning is the outward expression of grief. Today I am in mourning and it gives me some comfort to know that in order to heal, we cannot just grieve, we must also mourn.
So, there you have it. That’s how I am doing today. Tomorrow may be different. I hope it will be.