Wednesday, March 09, 2005

"How are you?" How many times a day do we ask and answer that question without even thinking about it? The answer of course is always, "Fine, and you?" It's still my first instinct when I hear the question, but if those words come out of my mouth I'm instantly struck by what a lie they are. I am not fine. And the contexts in which that question is most often asked are the ones in which I'm least prepared to think about how "not fine" I am. It's no one's fault. I do truly appreciate people expressing concern, checking in on me. It would be so much worse to be trapped in a zone of silence with everyone afraid to say anything for fear it might be the wrong thing.

But for some reason, those three words in that order send me on a downward spiral of despair more often than not. I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now, not wanting to share it until I came up with an alternative. But it's not really the question itself. A million different things trigger those thoughts and not always the same day-to-day. It's the first green shoots that will be daffodils and tulips popping up outside my door. It's a woman pushing a stroller. It's a meeting I wasn't supposed to attend because I was supposed to be on maternity leave. It's the simple act of washing my hands, a NICU constant. This is today. Tomorrow may bring something else and these won't be a trigger.

Maybe I need to adjust my own perception of "fine." Maybe it doesn't mean what it used to. The truth is, most days just getting out of bed is a major victory, so I suppose if I'm out encountering friends who ask how I'm doing, then on some level I am "fine." Not like I was before or during Will's life, but in a way that means I'm incorporating this whole experience into a new me who may never be "fine" the same way again.


Post a Comment

<< Home