July 7, 2013

How Are You?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 11:00 am by Debbie

The conversation goes something like this:

Person: “How are you?”
Me: “I’m fine.”
Person: “And how are the kids doing?”
Me: “They’re okay, too.”

The well-intended question. Spoken from the heart of friends and family who really do care that we’re all okay. Unfortunately, I can’t provide the true answer right now. Not because I don’t want to. I’m just not sure I could. The answer in my head goes something like this:

“I’m okay. No I’m not. Yes I am. I don’t really know. I will be okay – that much I do know. But I’m sad, I’m mad, I’m confused, I’m worried. I’m in auto-pilot mode. I miss him. That cute little old couple that walked into the restaurant had no idea that the sight of them instantly angered me. I’ll never have that with Dave. My soulmate can’t grow old with me. I’m worried about my children, finances, the future. I miss him terribly. I’ve had a part of my heart ripped in half and yanked out through my toes. I’m living a horror story. I’m in shock. I really miss him. I just want to talk to him, but I can’t. I hate this. I laugh at memories, expecting some “Dave” response that never comes. Tears drop unexpectedly. They just appear. I’m lonely, but not alone. I hate cancer. I still can’t believe this happened. I’m so glad he’s not suffering and there’s no more pain. For him. Just pain for me. I can do this. My best friend is gone. Gone. I wish he were still here. I’m calm on the outside, a smoothie blender twirling on the inside. Will someone please wake me up from this nightmare? It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair. I’m okay. No I’m not. Yes I am. I don’t really know. I will be okay – that much I do know.”

Here’s what I can tell you: Grief isn’t an illness that you magically get over. I won’t wake up one morning and be cured of anything. It’s something that I have to learn to live with. It’s like an unexpected visit from a deadbeat cousin that you didn’t know you had who does not plan to leave. Ever. On the outside you’re the perfect, calm, cool, friendly host. On the inside you’ve plotted his demise a thousand different ways. But somehow, someway, you have to learn to live with the new annoyance in your life. No matter how uncomfortable his presence is.

And we’re learning to live with the annoyance of Cousin Grief. That’s how we’re doing.

But do me favor, will you? Please don’t stop asking. Because when you ask me how I am, even though I can’t tell you the truth, at least I know you care. And that means the world to me.


  1. sunnyjane said,

    Exactly. This.

  2. just lynne said,


  3. Bev said,

    Debbie – this blog hits me right in the gut today as my amazing hubby lost his battle last week. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Debbie said,

      Oh, Bev. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m not going to offer any words of wisdom because they don’t exist for you right now. I can only tell you to take one day at a time. That’s all you can do. Email me if you want to talk.

  4. Denise said,

    Yes to all of it, including the smoothie blender. My son died a year and a half ago and I am still sick and reeling. It’s my daughter that gets me by, but barely. I love her to pieces, but grief feels bigger than all of it. And I know you know what I mean. So very sorry for your loss, but I admire the way you articulate it.

    • Debbie said,


      I am so very sorry for your loss. I do understand and yet can not imagine losing a child. Hold tight to your fond memories. Learn to re-laugh and re-smile. In time I believe we can also learn to re-live, though it’s a painful process.

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