Something you hear early on in this grief journey is that one day you will find a “new normal”.
I hate that phrase.
Because while I have certainly developed new routines, new ways of dealing with life, new methods for quelling the tears and the longing and the sorrow and the pain-it is NOT normal.
It will never be “normal” for my son to be missing.
It will never be normal that he died out of order-at 23-in perfect health, full of promise, vibrant and strong. It is not normal that I now visit his body in a cemetery instead of his living presence in his own home. It is not normal that one chair at my table is always empty, his drums lie stacked and silent in my upstairs bedroom and the only image of his smiling face is on my wall instead of waving at me going down the driveway.
No. This is not normal.
Does life continue? Absolutely!
Are there moments of joy? Definitely!
I have three surviving children and they are full of life. I am proud of them not only for doing the things that grown-ups do but for doing them well while carrying this burden of grief.
But that’s not normal either.
They have lost a lifetime companion, a piece of themselves as well as their brother. Their circle is broken, undone and can never be made whole again this side of eternity.
The parents they knew are gone.
We are learning to live this way.
But it is NOT normal.