Yesterday was a day of healing for me. A few days ago, I had this desire for a bit of normalcy (is there such a thing now?) I just wanted to feel like a real person again; to do something fun. I know that part of the grieving process is to find a "new normal". Things will never be as they once were; there is no going back. We will always be without Samuel. The challenge for us now is to figure out what life will be like going forward (easier said than done). I asked my sister if she would be willing to have me and some friends over to her house for a little "girls night". Nothing big. Just some friends, some good food and some good conversation. When I thought of it, it sounded so nice to get out of the house, to be around people who care about me. After she readily agreed and began making the plans, I had some doubts. Maybe people will think I don't love Samuel enough if I'm ready to have a night out... Maybe if I don't think about him all night I'll forget something about him... Does having fun mean I'm over grieving him? Just the thought of being "over him" made me so heartsick! I love Samuel so very much! I miss him all day every day. I would still give anything to have him back. But he's not coming back. He's safe and sound with Jesus and I'm left here to try to figure out my "new normal". A few times I thought of ways I could "get out" of my plans. But I still wanted to try so I kept them.
Yesterday afternoon, I got in the car and drove up to the cities. Since I don't get up there much, I tried to fill my time with many things I wanted to do while I was up there. My first stop was to visit my friend Traci who just had her baby boy a few days after Samuel. She is one of my favorite people and I've been missing her and really wanted to meet her son. I wondered if it was going to be hard to see him. I also wondered how it would feel to hold him. When I got there, I looked at her handsome little boy and felt ok. I can be happy for her because I know how much she cares about me. I know how much she hurts for me and how unfair she finds the situation. That allows me to feel safe with her and happy for her son. I got to hold him and snuggle with him. It was really nice. I had a moment of wishing I could do the same with Samuel, but it passed and I focused on enjoying the time of talking with a good friend and being happy for her.
After I left Traci, I met Jaimi and we went to get a pedicure. Another thing I'd been thinking about for a while was doing something nice for myself - such a a massage or pedicure - to have a moment of pampering and relaxation. Because my body is still healing from the c-section, a massage was out. So we decided to get a pedicure. Again, I wondered: does me doing something for myself mean I'm not loving Samuel enough? Does it say to people "I'm over him"? (There is much guilt in tying to find a new normal.) Again, I pushed the negative thoughts out and kept with my plans. I DO love Samuel! Nothing can change that. Again, it was so nice to be around a good friend and do something regular and "normal". We sat in our massaging chairs with out feet in the warm, bubbly water and it felt so nice. It's ok to do something nice for yourself, even in times of grief. (Maybe especially in times of grief.) We talked for a while, she looked at the photo book I have of Samuel, and then we headed over to Angi's (my sister who was hosting) house.
As I arrived, my immediate feeling was "oh no, what have I done...this is going to be bad". I thought this because I didn't know how to act. Should I be mopey and sad? Should I smile and be happy? Nothing felt right. I chose to just let the emotions I was feeling show. Everyone there knew about Samuel. It was going to be ok. Another good friend of mine, Adrienne, went in with Jaimi to surprise me with an "Edible Arrangement" (a bouquet of fruit, shaped like flowers). I've always wanted one! They are good friends to not only remember that I've always wanted one, but to get me it too!
As we all sat down to talk and eat, I felt good. It was nice to feel "normal" for a night! I didn't have to sit around feeling sad for myself that Samuel is gone. I didn't have to miss him terribly all night. I could have lots of love for him in my heart and talk to friends about life and be ok. It didn't for one moment mean I don't miss him or love him. That felt so good.
As the night progressed, we began to talk about Samuel and everything that happened. Everyone was able to ask me questions and listen as I told them what it was like. It was so good! I like to talk about him. I love to hear other people say his name and ask me about him. I liked knowing people wanted to hear about him. I like people asking me how I feel about things and what it's been like for me to go thought this whole situation of his sickness and death. The questions were good and overall the conversation was very healing for me. I got to say out loud how I was feeling and what I thought. I was so glad they asked!
Around midnight, when Bryan texted me to say "are you ok?" (I had told him I would probably be home at that time...oops!) we finally said "goodnight" and I left.
As I drove home, I felt so good. It felt so nice to feel happy! I realized something important. I have so many different roles in life. I'm a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, an auntie, a friend, etc. For so long, almost all my focus has been on being a mom. I almost forgot that I can be those other things too! Being one or the other doesn't negate the others. I can be a friend and a woman who needs time to herself and it's okay. It doesn't for one second make me less of a loving mother or less of a person who is grieving her son's death. It doesn't mean I love Samuel any less or that I've "moved on". It means that I needed a break. I needed to feel "normal" for a night. I came home, kissed Bryan and went to bed. I actually fell asleep quickly for a change! I woke up feeling the same amount of "Ok". I have so much love for Samuel in my heart. I miss him so deeply. I will always miss him until the day I get to see him again. I will still hurt for him and for me and Bryan, and I will still grieve that he's gone for now. Last night gave me what I needed: a break from the pain. A bit of the new normal. I'm so thankful for good friends!
*As I was finishing writing this, a package was dropped off at out door. It was a gift box with a note: "Because we know you've been feeling blue...here's some sunshine just for you!". It's a box full of yellow, fun things and treats. It's from some friends at our church. I'm so thankful that people care about us and that God puts people in our lives to show us His love. (And what a great idea for a gift!)