The new normal

We went to the zoo today. Perfect weather, picnic lunch, polar bears, horse-drawn wagon ride… all that good stuff.

I enjoyed Bryson, I did. I just had a deep, distracting ache in my heart. Everything I saw, I wished I could show to Brody. Everything we did, I wished we could do with Brody. His absence went everywhere with me.

All morning I kept thinking: I should be at work… Brody should be at daycare and I should be at work. It should just be a normal Wednesday where I wish I was at the zoo, enjoying the sunshine, but I can’t because it’s a work day and I’m at work.

Most of the time I feel like I’m living in a movie – something that I watch, distance myself from when it’s uncomfortable, and then forget about after it ends. That’s what I would like to think of this as – just temporary, just an illusion.

Today was the first supper in a long time where Bryson did not pray for Brody to come back alive. Jensen and I gave each other a look of relief. We have had many conversations explaining that although we all want him to, Brody cannot come back to life. His body stopped working. He’s in Heaven now.

One evening, Bryson said he wished he could stop breathing so that he could be with Brody. That stung, because I think that too. Of course I do. I’m not going to hurt myself – you can be certain of that. But the rest of my life feels like an absurdly long time to wait to see my son again. It scares me to think that Bryson could hurt like I do, that he could miss Brody so much he has moments when he just wants to die too. He’s too young for that. Even I’m too young for that.

But here we are. This is not temporary. It’s not an illusion. We have this beautiful life, full of love, and it hurts to live it right now.

I often feel incredibly uncomfortable and vulnerable just doing the most normal things. I worry that people are judging me – that they see me smiling or even just functioning and they question my love for Brody. If someone asks me how I’m doing and I answer fine, I chastise myself for such an inappropriate response. But I don’t know what to say when people ask.

I believe, stubbornly, that miracles can come from this. I believe I can grow in life-changing ways. I want to. I don’t want to go through this hell and be the same on the other side. When or how or even why alludes me entirely, but I will keep reading, and praying and going to the zoo. I will keep eating, and meditating, and watching movies. I will keep being in the moment, broken and distracted, for as long as it takes to be whole.

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