I’m fine, I say, smile and look away. This is the way I have answered people hundreds of times since Pat has died. Fine is the staple of my conversations and my go-to answer. Fine makes people feel better. They receive the word fine as meaning I have gotten it together, gotten over the loss of my husband and I am moving forward. Unfortunately, fine means none of these things.
What this widow means when she says the word fine is:
- I don’t want to even begin to try to explain to you how I am feeling
- I have no words for the struggle I am going through
- I am exhausted from the physical act of getting out of bed this morning
- I will figure it out on my own
- There is no way you could possibly understand how my world has changed
- My universe has come crashing down around me, but I am still breathing
- I managed to have a shower this morning and show up…physically at least
- I have only forgotten three things I was suppose to do today because I can’t think straight
- I have fifteen things I am suppose to be doing right now
- I don’t want your pity
- I am lonely
- I am scared
- I am lost
- I am holding it together for the moment
- I miss my husband
- I wish my world could make sense again
- We are making it through the day
- We don’t have any major catastrophes happening
- There are things happening behind the scenes that you will never understand
- I can’t take my children’s pain away from them
- I wish I could go back in time
- I don’t want to do this anymore
- I don’t know what to do next
- I want to crawl back into my bed and wait for my world to get better
- I’ve got this on my own
- I can only count on myself
- You don’t get it
- You never will
- I am all alone
I am sure there is so much more that is behind those three little words. There is pain. There is sorrow. There is confusion. There is loneliness. It is being completely alone and it is feeling isolated, not understood and lost.
I say I am fine all the time.
I say it’s fine, I’ll figure it out…because what else is there to say?
I am still here. I am still trying. I’m fine…honestly I am.