I was on my way to the grocery store this afternoon and feeling pretty good. The sun was out (after two and a half straight days of rain) the grass is greening up all through the neighbourhood, tulips are blooming, and buds on the trees are fat with the promise of summertime shade.
I felt happy.
And then, almost instantly, I felt guilty because I felt happy.
Sometimes feeling better - feeling close to normal - scares the bejeezus out of me. I wonder how on earth I can feel anything other than despair, sorrow and pain. I buried my son - I lost my tiny, beautiful baby boy who I love more than life itself. It just doesn't seem right to feel anything other than utterly and irreparably heartsick.
But the thing is, I am feeling something else these days. And this new peace and happiness that has somehow eased its way into my broken heart feels so good. I can't resist its charm no matter how hard I try. I've missed it - I've missed me. I forgot I could even feel this way, and it's like a drug. I can't get enough of it and all I want to do is soak it up and revel in its beauty and power.
The problem is that as much as I love it and want to embrace it, it somehow feels wrong. Really, really wrong. I feel like a kid sneaking a cookie before dinner or a bandit making off with a million dollars. I shouldn't be happy. I have a dead son - a dead baby. What have I got to be happy about? How can any part of me feel even one millisecond of peace?
Sometimes I think I should spend the rest of my life weeping and gnashing my teeth. That feels like the right and sensible thing to do when your child dies. There should be no happiness after you've buried your son. Ever.
So why is there? How can this be? And what must people think of me, the happy, smiling, content mother of a dead boy??
Like every stage of this horrific healing process, this is confusing as hell. I feel guilty when I'm happy and miserable when I'm sad.
I suppose I should be happy that at least I'm feeling something, but I just wish it was easier to sort all this out. I wish I had drawers for the pain and closets for the happiness. That way they'd be handy when I needed them and stowed safely when they weren't in use. All neat and organized.
I have a scar across my heart that will never fully heal. I carry pain with me that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I am walking through life missing a piece of myself that I can never get back. I miss my Thomas so much it literally makes me ache.
And somehow, without even trying, I'm finding happiness again. Real, honest-to-goodness happiness. And I'm blessed if I can figure out how this happened - how any of this happened.
I don't think I'm living life anymore. I think it's living me. I'm clearly just along for the ride.