It was like everything was the same, yet completely different. The pain was simply overwhelming and I just couldn't make any sense out of the fact that strangers were treating me as if I was exactly the same person I had always been. I wanted to shout it out, "CAN'T YOU SEE THAT EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY BROKEN?! HOW CAN YOU ACT SO NORMAL?!" I felt that surely the earth must have shifted on its axis considerably so why, how was everyone carrying on just as they always had?
That feeling eventually lessened but for the longest time, I just had a hard time participating in normal, everyday conversations that people have. I mostly managed to play along on the outside, but on the inside felt misunderstood and often even bitter of those not going through what I was being forced to go through. It's not something I'm particularly proud of but it was just a part of my personal grief journey.
I've talked about my "young widow" friends I sought out and found a few times over the past four and a half years since I started this blog but my thoughts have also gone back to them a lot over the past week since they played such a pivotal part in the healing process. The therapeutic, soul-spilling emails Kari (in another state) and I exchanged on a near daily basis for a period of several months were an absolute blessing. For both of us. Our circumstances were so very unique and similar that only by the grace of God and magic of the internet could we have ever found each another.
Jenn was the first one I met in person, about six months into my journey. Simply sitting across from her, with our kids, in a restaurant, will forever remain a magical sort of memory for me. I literally felt my entire body relax because here I finally was, face to face, with this other living, breathing, surviving person who KNEW. She knew my pain and I knew hers and we didn't even need to talk about it.
Then came Michele, nearly a year into my journey, and for the first time I had the realization that although I was still struggling with my own grief, I could actually (maybe...quite possibly) begin to use it to help someone else who was only just beginning her own.
And once we all came together in person? It was like it all finally began to make some sort of sense for me. I'd found the silver lining to my darkest cloud. Oh, I still didn't have all the answers to my Why God? question I'd been desperately searching for but it was suddenly no longer an issue. It was like everything I'd been fighting to get through had led me up to that moment, that beautiful, magical, miraculous moment of four young mothers being bound together in friendship by a common grief.