How I Am


People ask, “How are you doing?”
(Though less often now,
because after almost two months
it’s not much of a concern.)

I usually say,
“I’m doing okay.
It’s hard, but I’m okay.”

But the truth is,
hard is the only word I can use
to describe how I feel.

It was hard when my due date
and went
and there was no newborn in my arms,
and I realized there never would be.

It’s hard when I realize
I’ve gone hours without thinking
about our son,
and the guilt swarms
like that small clump of gnats
hovering over the remnants
of a summer storm.

It’s hard when I’m driving
and all of a sudden
I’m overwhelmed by grief,
tears falling thick and fast,
making it so all I can see
is the sadness that I carry
leaking out.

It’s hard when all of the shoulds
bounce around in my brain,
making it almost impossible for me to distinguish
between what I’m actually feeling
and what I think the person in front of me
is expecting me to be feeling.

So I just say,
“I’m doing okay.
It’s hard, but I’m doing okay.”


Photo by James Jordan

4 thoughts on “How I Am

  1. Sending love and many hugs. I know that grief is a fickle mistress. But there will come a time when it is less overwhelming, less frequently. For now, you are doing the best you can and anyone expecting more or something else needs grace. For you. And possibly from you.

  2. Your writing through the grieving process is helping me so much while I am stumbling along with two friends grieving different losses (suicide & terminal chronic illness) where the future has dramatically changed for both of them. I can see those ‘shoulds’ in my friend at church – that’s such a perceptive way of describing it.
    I’m sorry that Elliott died, and this is why you are writing what you do at the moment, but thank you so.

  3. there is nothing else to say, Alise. And what you’ve said here? beautiful and perfect. praying for small slivers of comfort here and there. . .

  4. I feel detached, in fact, I don’t even know if I am feeling anything – is it better to have the pain or the emptiness; to feel, or be mechanical; impulsive or automated?
    I receive a summons – to my husbands inquest – do they not think I would want to be there; to protect him; to stand up for him; to represent him as the man of integrity. patience & love that he was? An inquest; a summons, it makes him sound like he did something wrong – the only thing my husband is guilty of is loving me. ‘Should’ I share this – I don’t know. I don’t know much any more – but GOD does & those we grieve & miss so very much are in HIS perfect, tender loving arms x

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