I have spoken with almost a dozen parents who have lost children recently. We talk about how much pain our children did or did not suffer before they died. We talk about what those last moments must have been like, knowing we will never really know, and feeling as parents we somehow deserted our children because we were not there for those last moments -to protect and to comfort. We talk about needing to know everything about how they died while dreading the answers. We talk about whether our children were happy and had led fulfilling lives for their short time on earth. We talk about whether their short lives will be remembered, or whether they will be forgotten.We talk about our loss, and our children's loss and ....we talk about our need, our hunger, "to do" in their memory . We talk about emptiness, and loneliness and pain and being different from other parents as a result of our loss. "How are they doing?" ..."How am I doing?" "How are we doing?"
It is not often anymore that anyone asks me how I am doing and really wants to know how I am doing today. I wonder if all my activities in Casey's memory suggest to others that I am doing well? I think I am doing well and then .... Is doing well getting on with life-as I seem to be doing; or rearranging my priorities and trying to help others in Casey's memory-as I seem to be doing; or believing that there is so much opportunity for good in this world-as I fervently do? Is doing well having that acute searing, agonizing, terrible jagged hole in my gut, the emptiness of Casey's death and loss, become less, almost like the jaggedness is gone, like a rusty sword, dulled and smoothed over as a result of 3 years of suffering?
What is doing well? Does it even matter how I am doing as long as I am doing and busy and distracted and open to accept the gifts that are offered to me by others ?