There are different ways to ask the same question. Most of them start with the same dreaded word– How; a word that tends to make my heart race and eyes fill with tears.
How are you doing? How are you feeling? How is it going? How have you been?
Just like the other dreaded ‘How’ question (how many kids do you have?) many thoughts go through my head before answering – Do I have the strength to reply honestly? Do I want to breakdown in front of this person? Is this person ready for me to completely breakdown?
Responding to this question at times is torture, my go to response is usually ‘you know, hanging in there’. If I feel close enough to the person or if the time feels right, my real response is more like this:
“Most days I am hanging on by a thread. I struggle just to get through the day without crying. I hate seeing everyone around me going on with their seemingly happy lives when I feel stuck. My world feels bleak and lonely. I went from being a happy positive people person, to hating speaking to people I know, and even people I don’t. I find most days I don’t even want to speak to anyone, sometimes not even my husband. It takes a lot out of me to just think. My thoughts are centered around my son and I am constantly yelling inside my head: MY SON DYING REALLY SUCKS.
deep breath and continue
I am guarded and stressed. I am tired all the time. My whole body hurts. I am on constant alert for triggers. I have no clue what will make my somewhat good day crumble all around me. My dreams of being a parent were crushed. I don’t feel love the same way I did before, honestly, it is hard to say I love you to anyone. Hearing it is even harder for me. I thought my dogs were my everything and it kills me to admit, I just don’t feel the same way about them. Their unconditional love makes me want to cry.
deep breath, wipe my tears and continue
The amount of excitement I felt to be having a baby, not even just a baby but a BOY, made me want to explode. I wanted to be a boy mom so bad. I was so excited to be the loud sports mom. I couldn’t wait for him to get taller than me. Giving birth to him was the absolute best day of my life; followed just a few short days later by the worst. The death of my son has changed everything for me. I just don’t know how I am supposed to be ok with this. How am I supposed to be excited about anything anymore?
deep shaky breath, wipe the snot from my nose and continue
I hate seeing posts online welcoming newly bereaved mothers to the “Loss Mom Club”. I don’t want to be in this damn club- none of us do. We didn’t say, here take our babies from our loving arms so we can be a part this club; a club that, truth be told, only exists online. It is not a club, it is hell. I hate all of the cute little quotes that are used to make us feel better. They are all horseshit! The only thing that will make us feel better is for this not to have fucking happened to us.
deep shaky breath, wipe away tears and snot and continue
I am supposed to be a first time mom. I should have a 4 month old! My son was it for me; I can’t stress that enough and often repeat that inside my head multiple times a day. I wanted nothing more. My faith in God has been taken away. If there is a God, how could he do this, how could he answer my prayers only to take what I prayed for away. How could I pray to a God I don’t feel here with me?
deep shaky breath, gasp a little bit for air
I am not ok; I am trying to be but I am not. I am devastated. As I have been told by so many people, I am a shell of myself. I am trying to find my way through this process as best as I can. My heart has been broken and will never be the same. I have to live the rest of my life always wondering what Tek would look like, and what would he have been like. Would he have been into computers like his daddy or a people person like his mommy once was? Would he even have liked sports? Would I have been a band mom instead? I have no clue how I am supposed to move forward. I am here but my mind at times is not. I am lost. I have no problem falling asleep in the middle of the day but have to take something (Benadryl, melatonin, any over the counter with PM in it) at night. Most nights my thoughts are so loud I have to count inside my head by yelling. I yell inside my head a lot.
That is how I am doing. I appreciate you asking.”
deep shaky inhale, wipe tears, blow nose