• Mary Jensen

This is My New Normal...Five Months after My Son’s Death

It’s been five months now. Five months since Erik’s death. I still have a hard time saying that. While I know he is gone, it is difficult to accept. There are many days when I hear what sounds like his loud car go by. I stop and wait for him to walk in the front door. Then I realize it’s not him, it’s not his car, and he is never coming home.

There are moments every day when the tears slowly roll down my face and a heavy feeling weighs on my chest. My heart is broken. I am broken.

This is my new normal

I have a hard time listening to the radio, especially when I’m driving. Songs that I used to enjoy and sing along to, now have some unintended meaning that wasn’t there before. I would turn the radio up when my favorite song came on, driving and singing as I rode to my next destination. Not anymore as they all seem to make me sad.

I used to enjoy driving in silence too. It gave me time to let my mind wander, process the day, and prepare for my next stop. Now my mind doesn’t wander freely. It is possessed with grief. All thoughts lead to Erik. Now, I listen to the news in the car, especially politics. It is the only way I can drive now and not get myself upset over memories.

This is my new normal

Being alone or sitting in silence whether home or in the car is no good either. It doesn’t take long for my mind to flip back to THAT day, that one awful day and relive it all in graphic detail. Now, I make sure that my alone time is limited. If that means getting out of the house and walking around a store with no intention of buying a single thing, then that is what I do.

This is my new normal

I have had good days too. Not like good days before the accident, but good days in this wretched new normal world I live in. I can laugh and tell stories about Erik and all the crazy and silly things he did or said. But always… always, I choke back the lump in my throat and fight to keep the damn from breaking.

Five months ago, this was not possible. The mere thought of him and I would break down. I can now say his name out loud. If you listen closely though, you will hear my voice crack.

This is my new normal

I look in the mirror and the woman staring back at me looks like she has aged ten years in five months. I sometimes don’t recognize myself. My husband says I am beautiful. Damn, I love him for that. But I don’t feel beautiful. I see this sad, angry, confused, lost, and broken reflection and I just want to scream. Honestly, sometimes I do. But I have responsibilities to manage and a family to care for. I wash my face, put on my makeup, fix my hair, and start my day. I don’t look in the mirror again until the next morning, when this process starts all over again.

This is my new normal

It is hard to focus because I am easily distracted with thoughts and memories of my beautiful boy. I struggle to concentrate on simple tasks, like washing the dishes, or walking the dogs, and not let my mind stray. There are days when I cannot go on Facebook or look at the pictures on my phone because before I know it an hour or so has gone by. The images of him and all the memories attached to them leave me paralyzed. I want to remember every moment with him, every conversation, every time he made me laugh and even every time he made me angry. I don’t want to forget one single detail. So I will sit, distracted by his handsome face, afraid to move, afraid to forget him.

This is my new normal

“Are you okay?” “How are you today?” I hate those questions. Even when asked by strangers who have no idea what happened to Erik, to me, to all of us. For me, these questions, while well intentioned by some, and generic or routine everyday greetings by others, are like a knife stabbing me in the heart every time they are asked. I never know what to say. “No I am not okay. I am broken.” “How am I today? I am broken.” Most of the time I answer simply, “Yes I’m okay”, or “I’m fine”, or “I’m well, how are you?” It’s easier then to answer with how I really feel.

This is my new normal

I’m angry. I’m sad that he is gone, but I am so very angry too. There were certain people in his life that deeply disappointed him and greatly hurt him in what would be those last weeks. He was working so hard to start over. Erik and I had several long conversations about the things that were disappointing and hurtful to him. I often wonder if these things hadn’t happened if he would still be here. This I am told is called bargaining. It is part of the grief process. This so called bargaining fills me with such rage and hate that sometimes I feel like I will explode. I am so angry at those who hurt him. I don’t know how to deal with that. I don’t know how to make it go away. For now, this rage just sits there under the surface brewing, boiling, waiting it's turn to blow up.

This is my new normal

Don’t feel bad for me. I am not asking for sympathy. This is just how things are. I don’t like this new normal but I understand this is what happens when a loss so great occurs.

I am slowly learning how to live without Erik. I am slowly learning to live with this new me, this new normal. My emotions are all over the place, but I am gradually learning how to manage them. Admittedly, I am not always successful at that, but I am learning. This new normal, this new me makes me feel like a stranger in my own skin. But I keep trying to move forward. I try to remember the good times with Erik and hope that one day this broken feeling will be gone. This is my new normal.


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#ErikHoxie #mothersgrief #grief #death #lossofachild

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