I am still quietly struggling with the trauma of what happened to Lily and the fears for her future. I am not sure I will ever stop struggling; but I think this struggle is a bit like grief. Grief does not get better. You just get better at living in the spaces between the grief.
So that's where I am. Several friends have said to me "I know I am not supposed to ask you, but how are you?" this week. And it makes me laugh, because I am pretty sure I never said not to stop being normal and cordial. But, I do so deeply love this clear sign of respect and kindness towards our family. It is just such a beautiful thing to be seen and loved, but not ignored.
When my father died several years ago, I lost a lot of friends. When Lily was diagnosed with a brain tumor years before my father's death, I lost friends, too. Friendship requires nurturing and checking in and being available. It is a relationship and you have to put in the work to grow it and keep it. In grief and trauma that work can become overwhelming by both parties. I had several friends who checked out, completely, citing that I always said "no" to social invitations or that I was just "too" much/sad/depressing/hard to look at.
Of course, this is when you say those people are total assholes. And maybe some of them are, but the truth, they are just people with limits like the rest of us. And since relationships require two parties to relation to one another, I am not without blame. With my Dad, I said no to everything for months. With Lily, I struggled to feel like a real mother and avoided any mommy and me interactions. And I was hard to look at. Plus after two horrible events, you stop caring so much what people think of you and that attitude can be unnerving to be around.
But who am I kidding, those abandoners are total assholes.
This time around--and even the time a few years ago with my brother--the circle surrounding me has not had any abandoners. I don't know how it happened--perhaps some sort of emotional, friendship natural selection or something. But, I continue to feel alone in my grief; but surrounded in the spaces around it. And that love and support in the spaces of living is what gets me through the alone spots. Every single person reading this blog (all 37 of you!) is in that circle of the people who stayed for it all.
And staying is hard, when times are hard. Staying is a choice. I am humbled by how people continue to choose us. We are not easy people to love, but you love us anyway--in the spaces and in the grief.