In the last almost four weeks I have had a lot of people say many different things to me. All of which have been kind, loving, and from a place of sympathy (and at times empathy). But one thing that people have said to me quite a bit has gotten stuck in my head. A lot of people have told me I'm strong. I am generally uncomfortable with compliments, but this is one that particularly does not sit well with me. Because I do not feel strong. I have better days than others, but regardless of good or bad, I consider it an accomplishment to get out of bed and get my child dressed and fed. Sometimes I am ambitious and take a shower, maybe even run an errand. But no, I have never felt more incapable or weak in my entire life. So when people tell me I'm strong, I in fact, feel like perhaps I'm a hypocrite or that there is this idea that I am someone I really am not.
I have had others tell me that I am strong simply because I am functioning. And I can understand that to a degree. Before Holland died, there were times where I thought about what would happen if I lost one of my children and my first thought is that I would simply die. If I had been able to picture the scenario of finding my daughter dead in her crib, I would think that I COULD not exist. But you just do. You survive. I don't know how or why, except to say that I think a great part of it is the Lord sustaining me. By no means am I functioning well, but I am still breathing, and have not yet had to enter a mental institution (note the word yet!). And I believe that the Lord has given me a gift of understanding life after death. This is not because of me at all; it is something he has simply handed me, probably because he knew I would need it to help me survive all of this. So no, it does not make me strong. In a small way, it makes me lucky. It makes me feel humble.
By saying I'm strong, in some way, indicates that perhaps there is a way that a person could be weak when they've lost a child; that there is a right or wrong way to grieve and/or cope. And I have found that there isn't. Everyone moves at their own pace and grives in their own way. I do not believe there is any strong or weak that exists. I think anyone can just do the best they can. Sometimes the best I can is to just wake up and think about my baby girl and cry.