Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Normal

Last Friday was the parent panel at the hospital.
It was a good experience, something I would do again.
So there we sat, in front of a room full of NICU nurses, social workers, and a chaplain.
Tim and I were the only couple,
so he was the only guy.
I told him it was paybacks for all the Marine functions that he would drag me to where I was the only female...not that I ever complained about that really:)

But anyways,
he made the comment, not me, 
that we were the only ones there on the panel without a living child.
Does that really matter?
I think it does, because there is still that question of "will it happen for us?"

But what I got from Friday, is to hear what he had to say
in front of other people.
So often, our grief is like a teeter-totter.
One of us is up, the other down...
and the cycle of ups and downs continues.
Rarely...do we meet in the middle.
And often he lets me speak and doesn't get into how he entirely feels.

They asked us how our grief differs, how we handle it.
Then he told them something that even I can't truly understand.
He explained Iraq,
and along with all the stress and unknowns,
of walking outside the wire on a given day and not knowing if he would die,
with losing friends and 
seeing Marines bleed to death in front of him while he helplessly watched....
he said that watching Will die that night was so much worse.
So much worse...
I didn't realize it could get much worse than that stuff.

The people in that room probably didn't know what to think.
Again, a lot of our experiences put us on a different level.
A level that many people can only try to imagine...
its a level that I really try to forget.
And after it all, when the director asked us what the one most significant change in our lives has been since Will's death, Tim's reply was this:
Indifference.

The inability to really care about anything besides each other.
Sure, we can try to get into work,
in making plans for the weekend,
to set goals for ourselves...
but I would be lying to say we really care about things like that.
We do it for Will.
Because I know he wouldn't want us to turn into complete wrecks,
we need to live the kind of life he never got a chance to.

And that puts a different spin on things.

I don't really plan for the future anymore like I used to,
God always seems to have a different idea.
But some things I am ready to change.

As my 30th birthday approaches,
there is that indifference factor again.
It bothers me to be in this spot,
during this milestone..
Without a child,
without a job,
and wondering just what exactly is going on with my life and why...
Why I had to go from sheer happiness to devastation in one swift move.
I remember wanting to be "done" having kids
by the time I was 30.
You could say that I have wised up a bit at least.

So now, its just a number,
and it will arrive just like any other day,
without much planned,
without much celebrating.
And that is fine.

Tim and I are hard on ourselves,
we expect a lot.
And I expected a whole lot more for and of myself than this.
And I know that many people worry,
just wondering how long this is going to last,
if I'm going to be "okay"
and if my grief is "normal"...
because I am one of them.

And then the scary thing is,
we meet others in our situation
and they tell me some of the things they did after their loss happened...
and it leaves me feeling pretty darn normal...

What is normal anyways?
Sure, there are strange people, but do they act that way for a reason unknown to us?
Am I now "strange" to people that don't know me?...
it would hardly be surprising after all that has happened.
But then a long time ago, I suddenly realized that,
there really is
no such thing...
as normal.
Especially regarding families.

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