Everything changes when you become a parent.
I'm guessing you've heard that before. Until it actually happens though, you don't understand. It changes EVERYTHING. Deep down to your very core. How you express emotion even changes.
In June I lost someone very close to me, in tragic circumstances. We had been friends for a long time and I have never felt a death as deeply as I did hers. When I heard the news I quite literally collapsed. How could this have happened? She was so young. I just talked to her a few days before. Then something miraculous happened.
My daughter woke up from her nap.
It seemed like in an instant I snapped from soul crushing grief to mom mode. I changed her, I made dinner, I did some laundry. Ok, there may have been a few sips of vodka in there but still, I was functioning,
There was no other option.
I had to keep functioning for my daughter.
I found myself sneaking in time to grieve. I would take a break from laundry to cry and write. It would sneak up on me the moment I was alone sometimes. Nights were the worst. During the day I kept living life. I pushed my daughter on the swing. I went to work. I cleaned my kitchen. I put my make-up on. I kissed my husband. I quietly grieved in between those moments. My days were mostly normal in spite of what happened.
I felt like a failure of a friend.
My every moment was supposed to be spent in this all consuming state of grief and mourning right? It certainly would have been before I became a mother. I would have taken days off of work. I probably would have spiraled off into a dark, inescapable hole of depression. I wouldn't have left my bed. Instead I kept plugging on. I kept being a mom and mothering those around me.
There was a lot of time spent wondering if I was grieving "right." Did everyone around me think I didn't care? That my heart wasn't broken? I wouldn't have blamed them. Maybe no one else saw those normal moments. They saw what I posted on Facebook. They saw my blog. To them it probably looked like I was grieving how I wanted to.
It's been months. There have been many dinners cooked. Many loads of laundry done. I still visit her grave. I still think about her all the time. It's just not as much as I feel like it should be, but deep down I know it's been enough. I know she understands and wouldn't want me to put my whole life on hold.
Grieving is definitely different after you become a parent, but that doesn't make it wrong.