"You're doing good."
I heard that frequently in the days after I had my son. When we went to the funeral parlor to make arrangements, the funeral director expressed surprise at how "good" I was doing. The basis for this? I guess I was not crying hysterically in his office. I was numb, shocked, grieving. But it was all inside.
Society's standards for acceptable grieving are just that. Keep it inside. You are doing "good" if you are able to function. Forget that my entire world was just turned upside down. Forget that instead of bringing a baby home from the hospital, I got a box of ashes and a death certificate. Forget that instead of celebrating the anniversary of his birth, I get to remember the anniversary of his death.
I didn't want to have to do "good". I wanted to post the funny shit he said at Facebook. To mock my parenting and all the ways I was surely screwing him up. To debate the years of therapy he would need.
All of the stuff I will never have. A mother/son relationship. A little brother for Alexis and Elizabeth. A big brother for Charlie. A nephew for my siblings; grandson for our parents. In an instant, it was taken from all of us.
And I was expected to do "good".
I take July 2 off every year. I can't work that day. I just can't. Yet I was asked when I thought I would stop doing this.
Because I am doing "good".
I didn't ask for good. I didn't sign up for this. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I wish that I could make this funny; that I could laugh this off like I am able to do with so many things. Humor has saved me on more than one occasion.
And you know what? I can do good 51 weeks out of the year. I can walk around and pretend like a part of me did not die that day. That I won't sob tomorrow, clinging to his blanket and his hat and looking at the really shitty picture I have of my son. Reading all of the cards we got. Re-experiencing it like I do every year.
That is about as good as it gets.