There are no words to describe how you’re feeling after this kind of loss because all the words you know had different meanings before. “How are you doing?” is a simple question, but suddenly there aren’t enough adjectives for a simple answer. So I settle for “good”. Good, as in “good….relatively”.
The love and support we’ve received these past two and a half weeks is absolutely incredible. It is what has kept us together. People from all over the map and all across the timeline of our lives… cards, phone calls, drop-ins, emails, facebook messages…. Some people offer beautiful words, others make delicious casseroles. Some give the most comforting hugs, others share their extraordinary ability to make people laugh even in the toughest times. And more people than we can count have come forward to offer an ear for listening and a shoulder to cry on. The number of lives my sister has touched is a testament to her wonderful character and to my family’s warmth and love.
While there is no denying that Stephanie’s accident has affected an enormous number of people, the world somehow feels larger than ever now. For as many people that knew and loved my sister, there are millions more that didn’t. Though this grief is so big, the truth of the matter is, we are so small. And the world is moving on without us. Time may have stopped for this large army of friends and family, but the sun is still rising and setting. People are still shopping for birthday gifts at the mall and picking out produce at the grocery store. Waiting at red lights and paying their electric bills. Watching American Idol, arguing over politics. Life is going on. At some point, we will have to step back in. That’s where I am now… dipping my toes into the life I knew before January 5th.
A recurring theme to the wisdom that friends have shared about loss is that of a “new normal”. Things will never be the same, but we will grow accustomed to the change. The pain will lessen, but the scar will remain. We will learn to live with this void.
I understand that we’ll slowly reintegrate ourselves into the lives we knew before. I realize that we will learn to cope with having Steph solely in our memories. I believe in a new normal and I believe I can be happy within it. But I can’t help but wonder if life will always feel relative to the one we lived before January 5th. If “good” will always be “good, relatively”.