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How Are You???

Jaimie Malphrus

I’ve been trying and trying and trying to think of something to write about. There are endless pages of writing that seem like it’s not suitable for the general public. Everything seems too personal or too dark or too happy or just plain wrong. So I’ve been avoiding it, clearly. But that’s when I need it most. When I need to work through what I’m feeling… but with a careful balance of oversharing and ambiguity.

So how am I doing? I feel… alright. I’ve been better. But I’ve also been much worse. For once, I do feel like I at least have my shit together. My apartment is clean and homey and fully decorated with things that make me happy and endless arts and crafts. I am paying my bills on time. Always attempting to catch up on laundry. My lesson plans are all written for the school year and my students are great. I enjoy my coworkers. I just started my Master’s and licensure program for Early Childhood Education.

On paper, I’m thriving, right? Even planning to go see my friend and college roommate Emily get married next month at a resort in Puerto Rico.

So why am I not “great?” Well. Life is complicated. Interpersonal relationships are complicated. Balance is complicated. And… it’s almost September.

September is a hard month. When I was a kid, it used to just be my “birth month.” You know, because birthdays last a whole month. But this year will be year 4 of losing David. David used to describe the anticipation of getting chemo as a “flinch.” The day would draw nearer. He might not even be aware of the date, but his body would never forget. I feel the same way. As August starts to draw to a close, I’m flinching.

And now as I write this, I know exactly what is “wrong” with me and why I feel the way I do. I’m flinching. The weight of this month and my past feels tremendously heavy sometimes. As much as I can avoid thinking about it, you can’t stop time from moving. It’s going to come. It’s going to affect me. Why do I always pretend like it won’t?

I guess I just hope that I’ll be more evolved and healed and MAYBE I’ll wake up and find out none of this is real. Ok. So I’m a bit avoidant. Whatever.

But, really. There it is. The infamous “denial” of the grief process. If I pretend like nothing terrible happened, then I can just keep living life like a normal person. But what does that do? Sure, it might give me a short stretch of time where I feel “normal.” But, inevitably, everything in my memory will come crashing through whatever walls I put up. More importantly, it doesn’t honor who I lost and my love for them and that is incredibly important to me.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not happy or anything good. If anything, it just reinforces how human we all are and how we’re capable of feeling *so* many feelings at once. All the feelings. Simultaneously. Honestly, that’s my new definition of grief. The whole essence of the word “simultaneously.”

And here we are. Me getting to the point my therapist always wants to find. I have to acknowledge those feelings and sit in them. “Feel” them, as hard as it may be. And it will be. It always will be. Those feelings are part of who I am now, which is a… newer… version of who I was before. Not better or stronger or braver. Just newer. And maybe a tiny bit wiser.

So, how am I? I'm alright.


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