If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill
Many people say to me: "you're so strong". But what is the measure of strength? Is it because I don't cry all the time, because I can find it in me to smile? Is it because I can keep going? Is it because I haven't fallen apart?
Perhaps I am strong, or at least look it from the outside. I guess I am able to smile, to keep going. I think I've said before that I was afraid that if I let go, I would fall apart and not be able to recover, to go on. But I'm not sure if that's really the case.
Right from the start I was determined to honour Samuel, to remember him with a smile, to remember the happy things about him. Of course I'm sad, I've lost my son, but I don't think it would do his memory any good to fall apart. How would that honour him? On Essential Baby, one of the forums I visit from time to time, someone said (to someone else who is going through some grief) "live the life she could not". It's the kind of message that is given a lot, alongside the 'if the situation were reversed, you'd want them to go on' type of message. I really think there's a lot to that type of thinking. If we sit around, depressed about losing someone dear to us, then not only are we hanging on to sad feelings (instead of remembering happy times), but we are wasting our chance to have a good, healthy life. How does it honour someone to waste your life as well?
The other reason I appear 'strong' is for Oliver. He's lost his brother, would it be fair to lose his mother and father too, just because they can't handle the pain? Both of us have a history of depression, so it would probably be easy to fall apart, but I would not do that to Ollie. I will still give him the message that it's OK to grieve, to be sad sometimes, to talk about what's happened (and I will do the same, both in private and with him), but I will also make sure that he is loved and has a good, fun childhood.
Also, what would it do to Oliver's confidence, his self-esteem, to see everyone fall apart because Samuel is gone? Would he think 'I'm not enough for them'? 'I'm not as good as Samuel'?
No, there are good reasons for me to 'stay strong'. I guess you could say I have some leadership potential, and in this case, I'm leading my family out of a dark time. Someone's gotta do it.