Friday, May 13, 2011


[Warning:  The word "okay" gets used so many times in this post that may start to look like a nonsense word and cease to have any real meaning.  I am using it as shorthand for "fine, I guess, all things considered."]

I was just telling someone that I feel pretty okay today.

I'm going to a yoga class this afternoon.  I'm going to start on a sewing project (a new dog bed cover for Cooper).  I've submitted my grades for the semester.  I am ready to start reading a new book.  Last night I sat out on my deck, chatting with a friend about her dating foibles and I felt... okay.

It is unbelievable to me that I am surviving the death of my baby and that I have moments--hours even, days maybe--when I feel okay.

When I stop and think about the horror and enormity of what happened, I genuinely believe there is no way I will ever be able to accept Eliza's death.  I could never accommodate such a loss into my life and ever hope to regain a measure of happiness.  I simply cannot go on as I did before--I will always be broken and damaged and scarred beyond recognition.  I am a mother whose baby has died.  How can I be that and also be my old self?

And then in some kind of silent but persistent rebuttal to those thoughts, I have these days when I feel okay.  Or almost okay.  Emotions that threaten to overwhelm me can be checked, tears can be blinked back, and I can continue with my day.  I can take care of chores or work things or errands and I am not just functioning, but actually enjoying the breeze with the windows down or the clicking sound of my new flip flops or the red beans and rice I made for dinner.  E-mails make me laugh and I experience the small pleasures of snoring dogs and sun-tea and a clean house.  I look forward to upcoming events, including a friend's graduation party.  This is what okay feels like.

But when I'm okay, I think that I should be feeling sadder, feeling worse, remembering the immensity of what I have lost.  My baby died.  How can I possibly be okay?  What sort of person can be okay after that?

And then in those other moments (less frequent, but brutal when they come), those days when I am overwhelmed by grief and sadness and every part of me longs for Eliza with an indescribable aching that starts in my throat and tightens my chest and makes my limbs feel heavy and my head pound, I feel so shattered and hopeless and the pain in so great that all I want is to find a way to feel okay again.

I don't know how to balance being okay and being broken by grief.  Because I am both all at once and each one at different times.

I'm not great.

But today, I'm okay.

And I still don't quite know how to feel about that.


  1. In the past few weeks I am starting to feel like have been having more and more "I'm okay" momemts". I know I will never be like I was before. Even when I say I am having a good day to people, the good is definitely a different good than if I told you I was good before Liam died.
    Thinking of you and Eliza

  2. I know exactly what you mean.... I do sometimes even go days with okay, and then get tossed back into horrible reality. It's a strange feeling, okay, with underlying sadness.

  3. It's nearly 18 months for me and a lot of the time I actually feel good. (The times when I'm not incredibly anxious, at least.) And I hate it. I hate that I rarely cry these days. I mean, I don't sit around being angry about being happy. But when I stop to think about it (more than the average person would think), I'm not happy about it.

    But this morning I went to see the bereavement midwife at my hospital. And I felt fine on the way and wasn't quite sure why I was going. But I cried, a lot, while I was talking to her. And it was a relief, you know? To realise that the pain and the grief are still there, even on days when it feels like they're not.

    It never goes away. We'll always miss our babies. But life can still be good. It sucks, but it's a relief, both at the same time.

    Have you read this post on glow? It was one of the most recent posts when I found glow, and completely alien to me back then. But now... it seems so right.

  4. B's comment is right on the money. I went to my grief counsellor today with my husband, and actually said to hubby on the way there that I didn't really feel like I needed to go today because I have been feeling "okay". But then we get there and start talking, and I was crying, and sad, and ANGRY, and grrrrrrrrrr, and all those feelings that have been absent and it actually felt sooooooo good to let those feelings out again.
    I am not "getting over it" or whatever, but I am coping. I am trying to feel good.
    My happiness and my sadness are strange bedfellows, but I am glad they are both there.

  5. Isn't it amazing when we catch ourselves in these moments when we seem to be.. almost functioning. They catch me off guard. This was such a well written post Brooke.. we live this juxtaposed life that is as foreign as it is known to us. The movements between grieving and living are such a fine balance.

  6. It is amazing how resilient the human spirit is, even when we kind of wish it wasn't. Being "okay" is okay. You need those moments of feeling that way because the moments when you aren't okay are still going to come and they are still going to knock you off your feet. It will be like this for a very long time.


  7. I recently had these same thoughts. I was headed to an appointment and when I walked into the hospital someone asked "how are you" and I said "I'm good, how are you?" and then I remembered when I felt like such a liar for even saying "I'm fine" but now, I can say I'm fine or even good and not really think much about it. And then I get a little bothered by that all. Just strange I guess.

    By the way, I hope you don't think it's creepy that I just started commenting on your posts. I loved your post the other week about the Public Service Announcement that Molly had shared and so now I blog-stalk you :)

  8. It's a strange thing, how we survive in spite of everything. Remembering Eliza.

  9. yes. our old selves? yea, i think that ship has sailed. but i have moments when i see parts of old-tiffany peeking her head out. when i can actually care about something someone did. when i can form an opinion about something that has nothing to do with Julius. when i can play a board game with D. when i can watch a movie. i do note that at those moments i'm feeling ok. but without warning sometimes, i'm knocked back down with the realization that i will never get to hold/kiss/hug my baby boy again. the weight of that at times can be so very suffocating. i feel like there's no way i can recover from it. but eventually {and i'm convinced with his help} i do. *sigh* this life...i wish neither of us had to live it. ((hugs)) to you my dear friend.

  10. Beautifully put. I felt a similar guilt when things started to feel okay. But then, when I'd had what I now look back on as a serious bout with depression, I was so glad to get a little bit of okay that I deliberately decided that I wasn't going to feel guilty about it. And slowly, I've been finding Z in my okay moments too - that I don't have to be on the floor weeping my guts out to feel her close.

    Sending love and glad to hear that windows of okay are opening up for you.

  11. I see glimpses of this but am so early in my loss that it never lasts more than maybe an hour or so at a time. But posts like this give me so much hope for the future and the healing of time and grief work. Loving this post; thank you for writing it.

  12. It is amazing how much I relate to this post today.I am right around the time where you were here and I have been thinking about this a lot this past week. Loved reading this today. Thanks :)