Right now, I’m exhausted.
I don’t mean in the way that I’m not getting enough sleep, or I have too much to do in the day-to-day. I’m tired of being bereaved. Tired of my son being dead.
I want out.
I want to go back to being a “normal mom” who didn’t make decisions about end of life, or what to do with ashes, or how to celebrate birthdays for a child who isn’t here to celebrate. I didn’t sign up for this life, and I’d like the one I planned for back, please.
Give me the uncomplicated small talk, the easy play dates, the simple family photos. Bring on the joyful holiday celebrations and naive optimism.
Return me to that place where sad stories were sad stories, not triggers reducing me to a pile of tears one day or a disassociated robot the next. Make me strong again, in the way only the ignorant can be.
Paint the world in black and white, in simple colors and shapes. Good things happen to good people, bad actions have consequences. Restore order and balance. Make sense of things.
Because this randomness, this roulette wheel of tragedy, it is heavy.
I don’t know that I can carry it, and I see two options from here. One, I shrug it off. Nothing matters, it’s all out of our hands so why bother planning or getting wrapped up in things that can be taken away? If people can just die, why get close to them at all?
Or two, I double down. I continue carrying this heavy, hard-earned knowledge that I can wake up days my child does not. It shades how I see the world and interact with it. I know karma doesn’t explain everything and best laid plans can fall apart for silly reasons or no reason at all. My heart has been cracked open in a way that makes it easier to fall apart again, which is terrifying. Yes, this keeps me more emotionally connected to my son who died, but that doesn’t make the weight of it easier to bear.
Truth be told, the human capacity for compartmentalization means I do a little of both. There’s no way to know for sure, but isolating that part of myself from time to time – to work, to get through a hard day, to “be present” – does it make it progressively harder to open up again?