How are you? This question is a loaded one for me. I just think do I know this person. Do they really want to hear how I am doing? How vulnerable do I want to be with them? Will my truth make them uncomfortable?
For ten months I have dreaded that question from people. How are you? Well on good days I answer truthfully. It is easy. Not putting on that mask. People want to hear I am good they want to breathe that sigh of relief that I did not say I am struggling. I live for the days that I can say I am doing better.
How are you doing? On bad days I hate that question because I know that the person asking does not want to hear my truth. They do not want to hear the following:
- I woke up this morning and forgot he was dead. My heart feels like it is being ripped apart all over.
- I am struggling.
- I am surviving. My partner in life is gone and I am not sure how to live without him.
- I hate life. It is not fair that he died. He should be here with me, but he is not.
- How the Fu*k do you think I am doing. He is gone.
When I say my default lie that I am doing good, and the person responds. How are you really doing? I am happy to share. Somedays you need to share the I dreamed of him and now I feel so lost and alone. That I still wake up most days hoping it was a dream that he is going to be sleeping on the couch. I am not sure how to move forward because God, I still love him.
People always tell me Matt would want me to be happy when I answer I am surviving. Like I don’t know that. I know that is all that he ever wanted for me. And I am getting there. I have so many more good days than bad. I know that I have hard days ahead. Avoiding places that we went is not always an option and the days that I have to confront my memories and say not today Satan you will not crush me. Days I am surviving, and I am living through those memories I want to talk about him.
I had his son with me on Friday. It is a struggle sometimes when a moment happens that he should just be there for. Tiernan suddenly started talking about his grief and how he is handling it better than he thought he would. He is handling so well, and it makes me happy that he is not having the waves of grief that I live with. People ask me all the time How is Tiernan? That question is an easy answer he is doing well.
How are you? Most people don’t really care. They ask to be polite, so I say good. And we move on. But don’t be scared to share with the people that really care about you. The ones that understand grief, maybe not the same grief you are going through but know what it is like to just have bad days.
This past week I spent time with two friends that get it. That is probably why they pushed me more than others. One lost her mom almost two years ago and then the other has lost a child. We talked about Matt. They asked what happened and I was able to say without feeling like they would judge me that we had a fight, that he went to stay with his brothers and days later had a massive heart attack at work. That I have worked through my guilt, regrets and am doing better.
The best advice that I got and can give is you get to choose who you share your truth with. You don’t have to tell everyone that asks you how you are the truth you can lie and say good. If it is easier for you to say I am good and move on do that. If you trust that person and can say I am falling apart, and you know that person will just be there to comfort you tell them. Not everyone wants the truth but there are so many people that want to be in your corner to help you. They want to hear the truth; say they understand and ask what they can do.
I don’t hide my grief. Most days you can find my broken heart on my sleeve. It is something that I was told by someone they appreciated. I learned to be vulnerable and tell people I am not okay today I don’t want to talk about it but I need you to know. How are you really? Your fellow widows are here for you on the good days and the bad. We understand.