Today we get a visit from our friend Joan. Joan is the mother of Victoria, one of three girls on the Lakota West volleyball team to have transitioned in the last two years. We have known Joan for a very long time. Victoria and Shayna were in Girl Scouts together and were good friends. Victoria passed just three weeks ago, so her family is still dealing with the shock and numbness (not that we aren’t). We’re all people of faith. We’re all convinced they are in a better place. We’re all convinced we will see them again. And, while that takes the edge off, it does not take the pain away. We commiserate with one another talking about how we grieve the same and how we grieve differently.
Joan looks at me and I look at her. The “How are you doing?” greeting pops into each of our minds. She says it first “I was going to ask ‘How are you doing?’, but I know.”. “Yeah.” I say. “Me too.”
One thing that comes to my mind is that people just want us to feel better. Not everything that everyone does or says is helpful and some things can downright hurt more, but everyone has good intentions. As grievers, we have to know when to say “No”. We have to know when we need to conserve our energy and skip that lunch or that walk or that visit. On the other hand, sometimes we just have to let people do things because it makes them feel better. They want to do something, anything to relieve our pain. One thing that those trying to comfort need to understand though is our lives will never, never, never be the same. There is no getting back to normal. The joy we had of our intact families is gone forever. I’m only six months in and people tell me I will feel joy again. Pffft…. Maybe. But that is so far removed from my mindset right now it seems impossible. It’s like losing a leg. If someone has lost a leg in an accident there is pain and shock. There is learning to get by without that leg, first in a wheelchair, then maybe on crutches, maybe a prosthetic limb someday (assuming it happens when the technology is around for that), but that missing limb will forever alter that persons ability to run. It will never be the same again. Shayna was more than just a limb to us. The analogy falls short. We will learn to cope, but don’t expect joy or happiness out of us. Don’t expect us to run.
Ty and Joan and I all talk about how life moves on. We are dragged forward by responsibilities and dealing with this Earthly plane. It’s so surreal. We never expected to find ourselves here. We certainly do didn’t wish to find ourselves here in these uncharted, dangerous and scary waters. But, we know somehow we will make it, one day at a time, one step at a time. For now however, limping, not running.