“How do you do it?”

“How do you do it?”

Recently a very close friend asked me “How do you do it?” How do you put a smile on every day? How are you so strong? My answer is always the same. “I’m good, I’m OK” I’m not sure if that is the answer that people are looking for, I’m not sure if that is the right answer for how I feel; and I often question what I should say instead.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer, no matter how I answer is acceptable. It is how I am feeling at that very moment. I am OK, I am good, right now. Would I actually open up and dump all the feelings onto a conversation of pleasantries? No, it’s not the time or the place.

People need to understand that bereaved parents can feel normal but they also need to understand that it is a different kind of normal than it used to be. I will never be the person that I used to be and I will never feel the same unrestricted joy and freedom that I used to.

My normal has a new baseline. I am in pain every day and I miss my girl today the same way I did the day she was taken from me, but I can still feel normal and have good days…those words just have a new definition for me now.

For those of you who don’t see me often and who are surprised how “well” I am doing, don’t make me feel guilty for feeling “normal” or having a “good”day, because it’s probably not what you would consider normal. For those of you who see me frequently and who are used to me being “normal” again, don’t forget that my “normal” is built on a foundation of pain and tears and it takes a lot to not let it all fall apart again.

I get up everyday and put on my happy face, for my son who needs me to be a strong maternal figure for him as he navigates his new life as a grown man, for my baby girl who looks at me to mold her into a strong woman, for my husband who needs me to be the glue that keeps our household in order and for my family and friends who need to know that I am OK, I am good.

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