I was walking across campus this morning and there was a small group of toddlers in front of me. It must have been a daycare group. They were about the same age as Marlon would be now or a little older and they were so cute with their raincoats and their gumboots having fun jumping in the rain puddles. And I actually enjoyed seeing them and found myself smiling at them. At the same time I had a tear running down my face. Of course I was thinking of Marlon and how he might jump around in rain puddles right now. I find that this is often how it feels like, that my smile is often accompanied by a tear. I still enjoy things like being out in nature, pottery, the company of friends – but never with this feeling of pure joy or happiness in my heart that I used to know before Marlon and Toby died. It is always tinged with a pinch of sadness. At the moment of course it is a big portion of sadness. It’s more sadness than anything else…
That tear that goes together with my smile might be invisible, even to me sometimes. We were looking through some old photos last night and it struck me how different my smile was before Marlon had died. It was a happier smile. I still smile on recent photos but it’s different. And I might even be the only one who sees this difference, maybe because I know that difference better than anyone else. It’s that difference that I see when I look in the mirror. It’s still me who I see, but it’s not me. When Toby had just died it was quite shocking and I remember that same feeling from the time after Marlon had died. I felt so changed from one day to the next that my “inner me” didn’t match the “old me” that I was seeing in the mirror anymore. Feeling so changed but still looking the same felt so wrong to me that I had the strong urge to do something drastically. I felt like shaving my hair. I already had this thought while we were in the hospital. The first thing I did when we came home was going to the bathroom to cut my hair. I was hardly able to stand up straight but I had to do it. I didn’t have the guts for shaving I have to admit but I cut about 5 – 7 cm off until I would at least look a little different than before. Jens felt that same urge and he actually did shave his hair. It doesn’t feel better but it feels more appropriate.
Another thought that I had that goes in the same direction came to me in the gym the other day. The gym we go to is more like a physio gym and a lot of seniors go there. I was thinking how I felt so at ease amongst these people who are about 20 to 30 years older than me. Not because it makes me feel better about my fitness level (some of them seem way fitter than me) but because I feel so much older…
“Do not judge the bereaved mother.
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.
She smiles, but her heart aches.
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,
but she IS NOT, all at once.
She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”