“How are you?”
What used to be a passing nicety is now a loaded question.
“How are you?”
Some days the answer is easy. Other days, not so much. While it’s been over a month since my father passed away, it still feels raw. I think people think I should be “back to normal” by now. But I’m guessing those people haven’t lost a parent. They don’t know that there’s no going back. There’s only trying to figure out a new way to move forward.
How am I?
I’m ok. Other than the fact that I wake up each morning feeling like there’s a brick on my chest. I can’t quite catch my breath with all that pressure, and I don’t really know how I can stand up against the weight that I’m carrying. But I do.
I’m fine. Other than being bizarrely jealous of my kids and the fact that they can cry about butter and band-aids and everything else that’s nothing in particular. But not me. I’m supposed to be calm and composed. (Supposed to be.)
I’m plugging along. Even if it’s at a rate that leaves me with 522 unread emails each night, dozens of unreturned phone calls and a to-do list of epic proportions.
I’m grateful. For the sweet and funny memories people from every stage of my life have shared with me about my dad. For the people who have said that they see a bit of my dad in me. For the lessons my dad taught me, and a whole lot of other people, it turns out. For the wonderful friends who are keeping my mom company. For Big’s compassion that mirrors my dad’s. For Little’s like-minded, not-so-innocent approach to thrill seeking. For Pink’s beautiful dimple that makes her smile shine, just like his did.
I’m remembering. Even though the blanket I used to sleep by his side no longer smells like him. I’m trying to make him proud. Though sometimes my positive attitude is a lot less positive and a lot more attitude these days.
But mostly, I’m singing. Because there’s a Kenny Chesney song he loved that so deeply expressed how he felt as he struggled through each new challenge along the way. So I’m singing it. Through tears. With a smile. And I figure if I sing it enough, I’ll feel it. And live it. The way he so honorably did.
So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars
That I’m alive and well
It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive
And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin’ in and out’s a blessing, can’t you see?
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life
And I’m alive and well
I’m alive and well
How am I? I’m alive. And well. Or getting there, at least.