My new, smaller family is on vacation this week. We’re visiting old friends, some family, carving out new memories, enjoying ourselves.
And I feel guilty as hell about it.
I know it’s silly, I know it. He’s gone, we’re still living, it wasn’t our fault what happened happened. We have to keep on living, and part of living is finding joy. Preferably a large part. Otherwise, well, we won’t go down that path. Ever.
Yet, I can’t help the guilt. I mean, this is my first time dealing with grief at this level. My parents are still with us, as are my husband’s. And our siblings. Our parents dealt with the details of burying our grandparents, all of whom passed many years ago.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. I’m a little afraid people will criticize the “way” I’m dealing or not. Crazy or stupid, perhaps, but that’s me.
What I want to feel is happy. What I want is for the hole in my heart to heal. Okay, what I really want is my son back, but I’ve mostly come to accept that isn’t going to happen. Despite that, I still want to enjoy life. I want to wake up and look forward to the day. I want to laugh. And oh God, I want to stop crying. I’ve shed enough tears for a lifetime in the last three weeks, and while I know they won’t end entirely, it would be nice to take a break from them for at least a few days at a time.
Being on vacation has helped. We’ve deliberately chosen activities my daughter would like, and we’ve thoroughly reveled in her joy. I’ve taken a bunch of pictures and have posted some on Facebook, including one of myself and my husband, smiling. I was weirdly worried people would condemn me for smiling, but instead, my friends are glad for us. Which I suppose I should have expected. These people love me, after all, and despite our recent horrendous loss–or maybe because of it–they want us to find peace, to be happy again.
So we are. One day at a time. I’m sure there will be other posts full of sadness and despair and wishing for what I cannot have. But for right now, we are enjoying our vacation. And smiling.