What you see is me being strong.
What you don’t see are all the times I’m so very weak.
What you see is me smiling.
What you don’t see is the pain creasing the corner of the smile.
What you hear is my laugh.
What you don’t hear is the effort it takes to produce the laugh.
What you see is me looking perfectly normal.
What you don’t see is the giant hole in my heart.
What you see is my stoicism.
What you don’t see is my vulnerability.
What you see is how well I’m coping.
What you don’t see is the enormous effort it takes to do it.
What you see is that grief seems to have come and gone.
What you don’t see is how I just don’t want to burden you with it.
What you can see is taking everything I have. It seems like I’m supposed to pick up and move on, so I put on the show and do my best, but it’s a thin veneer. Life only pauses briefly for grief, then it zooms ahead at normal speed, forcing the griever to keep up.
Often it’s easier that way. I feel like I’m staying ahead of it when I keep moving, but it’s right there on my back all along, just waiting for me to remember the weight of it. And when I notice it it crushes me.
So if I seem a little edgy, a little quiet, or have a hard time coming out of my shell, I need you to remember this: I’m not trying to be difficult; in fact I’d much rather just be my normal self again. Truth is I barely remember how to be her right now, and I’m afraid she’s never coming back, which makes this even harder.
Please don’t hold it against me, I’m doing my very best.