Updated: Nov 24
At the age of 55 I have learned quite a few things about myself and about others in general. Some things I like and somethings I could do without knowing. In the past seven years I have lost three amazing humans in my life. The first tragic death was my sister. The second a few years later was my brother and most recently my dad. Over the course of these years I have heard so much advice on how to grieve for the losses. The most common of those thoughts shared is, "They are in a better place now", followed closely by, "Everything happens for a reason." My least favorite of all advice that is given freely without being sought is, "It will get better over time." My answer to that one is ah no it doesn't. So what have I learned with the passing of my loved ones? I have learned how to smile. You see, if you see someone who knows of your losses, and you smile at them they tend to shut up about the deaths. You completely throw them for a loop by appearing normal and readjusted to life.
Here is what they don't know. The smile is a lie. It's not for their well-being. It's for mine. I have learned how to lie so proficiently in regards to this that most people leave me alone. To keep my own piece of mind I have mastered the art of having passed through the grieving process and am living a normal life to everyone around me, just by smiling. When someone smiles it means life is good. Hey, I have no problems! The truth is, the smile is a lie. Although, as time passes it's not that the pain lessens, or that it has mysteriously disappeared. It just means that I have learned how to live differently. I have learned how to breath through the pain and heaviness of their deaths. I still have days where as soon as my eyes open I am overcome by the magnitude of their deaths and would rather stay in bed, cover my head with the blankets and avoid all human contact. But, I choose to be grateful for God granting me another day of life to live. I roll out of bed, and go through the motions of life. Some days are better than others and I find myself genuinely smiling at events happening around me. These days seem to be coming more frequently. Some days I feel guilty for being happy. Should I be smiling when I have lost my family? My mom and I do the best we can on an every day basis. But together, we seem to be able to get through the days. We often reminisce about each of them. Memories are bittersweet. We are grateful to have so many, and yet, we wish we could be making more. So, we do the only thing we can do......smile. Whether or not it is a lie, only we know.