My aunt and uncle came to visit this weekend, driving 6 or 7 hours to see us. Even though out of all my many aunts and uncles, they are the ones I am closest to, it wasn't your typical visit. Their son, Michael, died when he was 5 days old. 16 years ago. And no, they're not over it. Losing a child is not something you get over. It's something you learn to live with, something you might become resigned to even if you never quite "accept" it, something that settles deep in your soul and changes who you are and how you see the world.
And since Lydia died, they have been a kind of mentors to us in our grief.
They tell us we're doing all the right things. We're seeking out support in the form of groups and counseling. We're communicating with each other. We're writing and talking, talking, talking about Lydia. We're framing photos of her, lighting a candle every night at dinner, finding our rituals that will help include her in our family.
We spent all weekend talking about our children and our experiences. We did not run out of things to say. And even though our stories are different, the grief is so very similar.
This morning when saying goodbye, they told me we are doing great.
This is what great looks like?
We are muddling through.