Picking Up the Pieces

So life carries on. So on and so forth. A tragedy happens (again) and rocks your world and for a while you watch it go by on the sidelines. You sit behind a haze of grief and pain and you marvel at people putting one foot in front of another, cleaning their houses and paying their bills and caring for their babes. You think…huh. I wonder when I’ll have to start doing that again. And then soon, all too soon, you are supposed to dust yourself off and join them.

So I have.

I’m back at work this week. I’m writing stuff. I’m paying bills. I’m caring for (and hugging just a little bit tighter) my child. I’m brushing my hair and showering and getting dressed. I’m putting one foot in front of the other. But it still feels like I’m not quite back in the world. Like I’m miming through life, going through the actions but not experiencing them, not really. This is my impression of a woman moving on.

I can feel that with each day that passes, with each pretend action, I am putting more space between myself and That Thing That Happened. And with the space comes some air, a bit more clarity, a bit less haze. But I can’t seem to jump back into the world with everyone. I feel like I’m running alongside it, or that some shadow version of me is there, going through the motions, while the real me is still raw with pain, floating on the outside of it all. That me is a me I can’t confront. I need to trap her out there and keep going through the motions in here. Because I fear if I pop this bubble, the facade will come down and the grief, the tremendous weight of it, will crush me and I won’t even be able to pretend anymore.

So bear with me while I go through the motions. As long as we keep it light and breezy, I think I can stay in here for a bit longer. Maybe someday I’ll really show up. But for now, shadow me will have to do.

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