Answering That Question: How Are You?

March 19, 2013

Guest Post by Janet

“How are you?”

Oh, how I hated that question after the death of my daughter, Rachel. How am I? Seriously?

“Good,” sounded flip and made me feel like I was dishonoring her life. I wasn’t “good” after I buried her. After the memorial service was done and the casseroles were gone. I wasn’t “good” after hours spent crying, nights of tossing and turning or days spent trying to mourn a child I barely knew. 25 days was too short. Not enough time. Not enough anything.

Then there was the wordless answer followed by a stream of tears. The one asking didn’t know what to do, so they did what they could to ease the moment, theirs and mine. Put a hand on my shoulder. Hug me. Say, “I’m sorry,” and walk away wondering why they even dared ask the question.

“OK,” invited a return response, but the one asking really didn’t want to hear the rest of my story. “I’m numb, Breathing, though dead on the inside. Broken, though whole on the outside. Wishing I could go to her graveside and dig her up so I could hold one more time.”

Can you imagine the look on their face if I had answered that honestly? So I didn’t. I couldn’t It was too hard. I wouldn’t, it was too raw. Too real. I did the best I could in the moment I had. And you will, too

“I’m coping,” is perhaps the best answer we can give. It is what we are doing, after all.

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