My children had three sets of grandparents. I say "had" because they don't have a single full set anymore. They've los...
The Sporadic Okay
My children had three sets of grandparents. I say "had" because they don't have a single full set anymore. They've lost two grandmas and a grandpa in the last ten months. Each of their surviving grandparents is bereaved, and their great-grandpa isn't doing well and their great-grandma is a wreck over it.
We've become a family of broken pieces, and there are days when I figure out how to be okay with that, and days when I am very much not okay. Today, I'm doing okay. Yesterday I wasn't. Last week was a lovely week. The week before that was hellish.
Grief isn't linear.
My mum has been struggling with that. With the feeling that grief should move in a straight line. She apologized to me the other night on the phone because so many hard and hurting things had towered themselves atop the foundation of her grief, and everything in her life felt like it was about to come crashing down. She apologized to me for not being okay, as if it was a point along the grief line she should have reached by now. As if five months is long enough to become okay with losing the best friend you built your life around.
Last night, I wasn't okay. Because I saw in my mind's eye these three broken couples (and one breaking) and asked myself stupid but unavoidable questions like why, and why so fast, why so many, and please-oh-please not us next. Because part of my "not okay" moments is the selfish fear that this is all about me and us somehow. A preparing for the only thing that could be worse than losing two mother-in-laws and a father.
I'm not writing down what that thing is. Naming a fear is supposed to give you power over it, but it doesn't feel like that this time. It feels like the fear is this small, swirling vortex in the back of my mind, and that naming it will give it corporeal form somehow.
I didn't used to be superstitious. For a girl who spends her spare time crafting stories and worlds in her head, I'm remarkably pragmatic. And it's the pragmatic part of me that WANTS a simple, straight course to follow. I want to take step after step in the grieving process, cross the "I'm Okay Now" finish line, and be done.
But grief isn't linear, and as much as we like to think we are, as much as we measure our time on this earth in linear, easy-to-wrap-our-heads-around ways, neither are we.
I'm going to be okay. But I'm also going to be not okay. Sometimes, maddeningly, I'm going to be both at once. I guess that's why I felt the need to write through this today. To give myself permission to be this way. It should be inherent. It should be assumed. I am human, therefore I am sometimes okay, and sometimes not okay. This is the nature of our existence.
Isn't it funny how we sometimes need to give ourselves permission to be exactly what we are?
About author: Kimberly VanderHorst
Kimberly Vanderhorst wrote her first book when she was seven (it was totally awesome, but the world isn't ready for it yet), and her next when she was twenty-seven. When asked to account for the intervening decades, she likes to suggest the possibility of alien abduction with as straight a face as possible.