In the early days of Keely's passing, we were overwhelmed with support. So many came out of nowhere to hold our hands and shed tears with us. As time passed, the numbers willing to say her name were less and with each year, the "rememberers" are fewer.
Now, nearly 3 years into this journey, I feel more "normal". I can walk through the mall not wondering if every stranger could see it in my eyes, wondering if they too, had lost a child. I can confidently and without fear tell a stranger that I have 3 children and if the convesation persists, explain my stance. I am a proud mother and while not all of my children can be seen at my side, they are there and they are represented. But while I'm becoming more comfortable in my new normal, there are moments, days, sometimes weeks that the blaring, vast differences between myself and the non bereaved pound away at me. Sometimes without great "aha" moments, most of the time completely unforeseen, I'll remember or be reminded that we are different.
This difference has introduced me to some of the best friends I have in this world. I have been introduced to friends who "know". Despite loving Keely and trying to know, these other mothers KNOW. We can say our children's name in celebration without an awkward moment of trying to find words when we know all too well that there are none. I'm am so grateful for these moments with these mothers, who are like me. I'm grateful for my other friends who try to know but am filled with reminders that we are different. At least in this one, profound way, we are different. That's okay too.
"There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it." Charles F. Kettering