I am still struggling this morning to shake the reality of the world.  The morning’s unscripted and unexpected comments from innocent bystanders shake my wobbly legs on this chillier February morning as I am undressing for yoga class….it is not even 7 AM!

As I peel the layers of outerwear off my own body, remove my shoes and start to go into the  cave, next to me is this woman — happy spirit, normal based on appearances — she is smiling broadly. She has no idea my only son is dead. She is one of these faces I see in the morning in this yoga cave where I retreat to breathe and challenge myself and try to stay present with life, doing positive things, starting my day in a positive way by coming to be present and push myself to stand on one leg and wobble and practice how to balance and use this metaphor in my real day to day life…. and instantly shares how hard it was to get out of her warm bed this morning with two children cuddling up around her.

It is impossible for me to not feel worse when this woman adds she “is tired from being woken up so many times during the night from her kids sleeping next to her disturbing her sleep.” I wanted to cry instantly and say quietly my son is dead.  He died in a blink. Yes – she would not believe this woman sitting here said this, yet it is tragically the truth. I wanted to ask her what she is doing at the gym at 7 am.  Why would she prefer to be anywhere but home making breakfast and sending her children off with hugs and love? What is she doing here?

Yes – I want to try to escape my painful reality and yes, I come at 7 AM to avoid the brain making this parallel — if Joseph were alive I would be getting him ready for his school day before going to exercise class or whatever that journey might be if he were here in 1st grade.

How did this come to my morning when I am really trying to be in the real world and not focus on my dead son and my dead dreams and my dead old life path?

How do I not tell her who I am next time our paths cross?  How can I believe that her life is not easy nor is it my reality.  How do I tell someone that her life makes me even more aware of what is gone?  How do I trust this is exactly where I am supposed to be after 27 months?

How do I prepare myself if I go out into the real world again today? How can I accept more unexpected visuals or overheard random comments filling my ears and head with more to digest … more lives to remind me of my loss? Again and again I push away the desire to cave in to the pain and not reinvent myself or focus on being positive and make the world a better place for others because my little boy is dead?

I need to know how to handle this without wearing a t-shirt that has his picture on my body and a message on my back that says “HE DIED IN A BLINK.”

This bereavement is the non-visual handicap that no one can see unless we wear our broken heart on our sleeves … I truly want to give up trying …

Kim P.

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