No it’s not fair. It’s not what you wanted. It’s not how your life should be. You ache all the time. Physically and emotionally. And the pain never goes away. People are there for you at first, but they go on with their own lives because of course they can, and that’s ok, but it hurts when they forget you and it hurts worse when they judge you later…your decisions and your choices…. from their pedestal of normalcy.
No matter how close they once were to you, even family members, they will never fathom your life and how affected you are by the day to day to day, and they will never see that your smile has dimmed and your heart always hurts. They will judge you as though you are the same you, the you you once were, or judge you as if they were in your shoes – which they are not because they cannot even imagine the horror and the hope, and God willing, never will. They convince themselves that you are the same, but you are changed and they are not. How dare they judge the you who you are now? The you who is crumbing inside. How dare they question your behavior in a life for which nobody is ever equipped to handle?
You smile and say I’m fine because you don’t want to burden them with the burden you live. And they accept that you are fine because you say so and they don’t question your fineness because then they may have to deal with it, so they think of you as fine. And by thinking of you as fine they feel the right to judge you as if you were fine, so they make no provisions for the you who is not at all fine. They give you no leeway, instead they walk away and talk away and stop calling because you are no longer fun or interesting or the life of the party.
And you hurt more and feel more and think more. You see hate and unkindness and it affects you more deeply because you live day to day with the reminder of the fragility of life. Their actions stab you in a heart that’s already broken. A heart that’s already bitter. Their stabs, although pinpricks compared to the original slashing, renew your pain and remind you all over again that your life is so different and not at all what you expected it to be.
But you will meet others. You meet others who feel, who didn’t know you then and can accept you now. You now being the only you they’ll ever know. So many will lift you up and make you laugh and will truly want to know the you behind the mask of “I’m fine”. You will see the good of humanity as in the time the small white guy and the large black guy took it completely upon themselves, not knowing you or each other, and stopped the flow of mob traffic leaving the concert, so your child could exit in his wheelchair, the littler guy ahead tapping shoulders to move out of the way, the bigger one clearing the path right in front of you, making you feel like a running back with the best blockers in the business. You will feel the smiles of humanity when someone takes the time to stop you and ask for your story, not afraid to hear the truth, and then hugs you because no words are ever enough. You will feel the good as you’ve never know it to exist. And this is what you need to concentrate on. What you need to believe in.
The goodness. The light. The hope. And the love. Especially the love. It still exists in your new world, but to see it you need to feel it, you need to open yourself up to it and try to dilute the bitterness of how you feel, of what you feel. You need to let go of that other life, hard as it is, because that other life is nothing more than a memory and no longer can exist for you. You need to let go of the people who let go of you and let go of the old dreams and the old plans for a future that has drastically changed. You need to somehow accept. To somehow move on. To somehow move forward and create new dreams and a new life and look at a new future. You need to make the new future sweet and beautiful and, although different, not any less.
You need to believe that you can still be happy in your new sadness. You can find laughter while in pain and you can find love within the heartbreak. Take one small step today toward something, anything, that makes you feel better. It will take you many steps and many days and many months and maybe years to reach a new happy, but if you look for it, and walk toward it, it will be there.
No. It’s not fair that you need to reconstruct and recreate your dreams. But it’s possible. And that’s what matters.
You’ll be fine.