My new “normal”

I am tired of being bereaved. I want my life back.

“I’m tired of being bereaved. Tired of my son being dead. I want out. I want to go back to being a “normal mom” who didn’t make decisions about end of life, or what to do with ashes, or how to celebrate birthdays for a child who isn’t here to celebrate. I didn’t sign up for this life, and I’d like the one I planned for back, please.

Give me the uncomplicated small talk, the easy play dates, the simple family photos. Bring on the joyful holiday celebrations.

Return me to that place where sad stories were sad stories, not triggers reducing me to a pile of tears one day or a disassociated robot the next. Make me strong again, in the way only the ignorant can be.

Paint the world in black and white, in simple colors and shapes. Good things happen to good people, bad actions have consequences. Restore order and balance. Make sense of things.

Because this randomness, this roulette wheel of tragedy, it is heavy.” – Elizabeth Thoma

This is exactly how I feel. I could not have said it better than she does.

This isn’t how my life was supposed to go. I had other dreams and plans and all of those included having Nikolai physically part of my world.

I was not unfamiliar to grief before Nikolai died; however, the death of my child is vastly different than the losses I have experienced. For 15 years I raised this child. I read books to him, we ran together, went to the park, Pontiac Lake in the summer to swim. As a family we did vacations, camping, hiking, movies, hanging out at home. We laughed, we cried, we argued, we loved. And all of that is over. There will never be another day with him, another hug, another stupid joke.  

I just want my life back.

I am tired of this pendulum between grief and joy. I’m tired of having a day full of amazing dissolve into wracking sobs for what feels like no apparent reason. My anxiety is at an all time high. I worry every time Joe leaves on a business trip that something bad is going to happen like it did that day in June 2019. I fear every day the loss of another child because I honestly don’t think I could live through another. I am a colossal mess of what if’s and worry and damn it, it’s exhausting!

I have built up walls and I’ve mastered the fine art of pretending. I’m an extrovert that has slipped into an introvert. My circle has significantly shrunk and very much on purpose. I need to feel safe and I don’t mean physically (although that’s important to) – I mean in groups of people and conversation. Self-care and protecting my family is at the absolute forefront of my mind at all times.

I am a self-proclaimed hot mess! And yet, as much as I fight against this new life I have been forced to live, I know that this too shall pass as I evolve into God’s plan. The goals and dreams I had for my life were clearly not God’s. He has a different plan for me. In Genesis 1 – “His plan is good because of the purpose it will serve. It is good because of the hope it will give. It is good because of the lives it will save.”

On a dragonflys wings and a prayer, I find myself living on faith. Faith that the advocacy I am doing is educating people, bringing more awareness to grief, suicide and mental health. Most days I am full of hope and know that even in those moments of desperate heartache, I cannot quit.