The dichotomy between the Great Sadness and the Daily Joys causes me anxiety and a feeling of self-judgment perceived as external criticism. Are people really judging me and my grief or am I just perceiving their reactions as such? Am I too sensitive?
Does this disconnect arise from the inability of my brain and my heart to understand? Because I can’t. Understand. How does a mother understand her firstborn is dead at age 31?
And here I sit, feeling the breath squeezing from my chest as I feel constricted and suffocating- I take deep breaths and feel the rally of a heroine, then wonder why I need to be “strong?” Because it hurts too much to be weak. Weakness is not the brave face, weakness is the torture I love in written under my eyes; weakness is vulnerability and visibility.
Sigh. Deep breaths Kate.
Visibility leads to inevitable awkwardness as people realize my loss and they don’t know how to respond. I watch reactions flee across their faces and I rush to validate their discomfort. I see their fear and I am quick to point out that I am “okay” – a quiver in my voice, maybe a small tear but see, I’m holding it together. Again, I’m strong.
Because if I’m vulnerable maybe I’m not capable – maybe I’m a liability. There’s no place for a liability at work and who wants to be hanging out with an emotionally unpredictable person regardless of the validity of their grief?
Do these sentiments truly exist in others? People surprise me with their cruelties but more have pleased me with their compassion. And the value they find in me! Why do I feel less-than-worthy of their look of sympathy ? Then I see a “thank God it’s not my child” look too followed by a flash of guilt and “did she see that?” Or do I just make this all up in a mind that has a sometimes delicate grasp on the process of functioning? Over thinking again…another sigh.
The Great Sadness and the Daily Joys can, and do, co-exist sometimes inexorably intertwined, because for today I am still alive.