The other day, through tears, I said to my husband, "I just miss feeling normal." He said: "There's going to be a new normal. Life will never be the same again, just like after we lost our first baby. But there will be a new normal."
Isn't he so right about that?
Sometimes, things happen in our lives that change everything. They change the way you feel about yourself, and the way you see your life. Game-changers, I guess. At first you are ripped apart, and floating in darkness. You feel alone in your grief. You start to believe that this is all you will ever feel. Then days pass, and despite what people say, the pain doesn't lessen...but it does becomes familiar. You learn to live with it.
The other day I realized that, from now on, whenever I meet someone new, and they ask about my parents, I will have to say, "My Dad lives in Germany, and my Mom died." This is now a piece of my story, and it's a part I cannot change.
Rafael asks a lot about death. It has become a permanent part of the landscape of his childhood. This is another thing I cannot change.
It means so much more than anything I can write here. The loss of my mother, the her-not-being-here, the no-more-letters-or-emails, the fact that her voice is only something I hear in my head. It has so much more weight than I can explain. It is woven throughout my days and nights. I think about it all the time.
This lump in my throat, and the hot tears that spill. They are a part of my new normal. This missing. The terrible moment when I wake in the morning and remember that she is gone. Her final hours in the hospital, swollen, black and blue...and then seeing her lifeless, her body growing cold. It plays like a film in my mind every day.
All a part of my new normal.
It's not that there wasn't beauty to be found in her death. Surrounded by loved ones! How many are so fortunate?
And it's not that there isn't beauty in my life. Just look at these photos. So much beauty indeed.
But for now, it feels somehow separate from me. I laugh and smile, I play with my silly boy, and revel in his perfect face. I smooth his hair, put my face to his head and breath in his scent. I cook good meals, meet good friends. Talk about all the hundreds of things there are to talk about.
But always, just beneath the surface, like a fine, lavender fog-colored layer that only I can see, right there, like a layer of second skin...there is that sadness. Always that sadness.
So the new normal is still settling in. I am still learning what it all means.