I grew up with a very binary worldview. Things were good or bad, right or wrong. I thought the middle ground was for suckers, or those who just hadn’t thought about it hard enough.
I though shades of gray were a way out, an excuse.
Now, parenting my rainbows, there are unmistakable moments of joy. But… there’s always a but. The colors of life are muted with a haze of loss, grief, and missing. My life isn’t black and white – divided into good times and bad – it’s from here on out varying shades of gray, with colors in between.
Sometimes the fog blocks the colors, and I can’t really see them even if I know they’re there. I should feel blissful, I should be grateful, I should enjoy the moment… but I can’t. I feel broken, unable to ever be restored. I feel unworthy, because I can’t be the mom I hoped I’d be. I feel like a liar, knowing how I should feel but my heart hasn’t caught up.
Sometimes the filter brings out a color in a way I could never have considered before. I have grown in ways I never imagined, changed in ways I never intended. It would be untrue to say all the changes have been bad, but the price I paid was too high. There’s no going back now though, so I’m forced to take it from here. My best option is to lean into the positive changes while managing the negative ones.
Learning to manage the gray areas is something I expect I’ll work on the rest of my life.
I do wonder though, how it will pass on to my living children. Will they have a similar binary outlook until something extreme happens? Will witnessing their parents’ life after loss nudge them into understanding the grays more naturally? Will they resent us for our differences from other families?
It’s impossible to know yet. All I can do is try to lean into the colors while managing the fog. A balancing act with no rules to follow, and I can’t really see. Easy enough. I’ve been through worse.