I think a lot about pictures today. Perhaps it is because I picked out images to go on Perry's card and to give to his stone artist. It hit me really hard because as I was thinking how I should have sent out a birth announcement or a one year birthday invitation with his picture on it (rather than a memorial cars with a safe sleep message), I rounded the corner at a highschool our engine company was visiting, there was a very long line of baby pictures for all the graduating seniors.
The theme of this week for me seems to regret for all the things he will not do, the graduations, road trips, and wedding that he will never have. The senior photos, the upcoming wedding of my SIL, and a trip in a small plane for the first time without him.
So I will cry today and then paint on a happy face. Because everyone wants to be happy and sadness has no place in our society. You hide it, avoid it, and cover it up (with pills if necessary). But unfortunately that's not for me. That doesn't allow me to face it. Before you can get to your new normal you have to fully experience and understand your loss. You have to get familiar with it so it can finally blend into the background of your life instead of sitting in the center glaring as you try to pretend it is not there. Hiding it will just allow it to pop up later, the pain to breed and multiply under the skin until it works towards the surface.
The problem is facing grief in a society that pretends it doesn't exist is a difficult proposition. To an extent you are forced to compartmentalize yourself, but it doesn't always work well. Everyone always tells you if you are 'yourself' everywhere then that is the best policy, but the reality is that we almost all have multiple roles. How many working parents act like work is the most important thing on the job, but family is when they are off? Whether or not this can ever really work is questionable. Something has to give at times... and that's when you figure out what is really important as it reflects in your decisions. You will always begin to excel in one area and neglect the other with this extreme split. Grief is sort of like that, at times you have to make a choice about how to be honest with others even when they would rather you pretend. So I try to cheat a little. Hidden babysocks in pockets at work or pictures on a bracelet. And I try not to pretend too much, but I do not necessarily volunteer my thoughts. But if I were honest there are times I paste on a smile or my laughter is hollow, I make the decision to pay for it later rather than make someone else uncomfortable.
In general I tend to think that when I can fully face things as they happen in my mind, I am better off. This delay of emotions just make it feel like there are two seperate painful events rather than just the initial moment something hits me.
But it is just not a choice you can always make and stay employed, or keep friends, or prevent family members from being alienated. Because a lot of people really just do not get it. But when you pretend sometimes you feel like you have lost those people anyway because it is no longer an honest relationship. I think that is why so many people who lose children shift to new friends or drift from family for a time.
You just get tired of lying.