Normal is....

From the heart of a bereaved Mother...

This is now what "normal" is...

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family's life.

Normal for me is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day, July 4th and Easter.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a funeral than a wedding or birthday party...yet feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers and see the casket.

Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.

Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age he would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child's memory and her birthday and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fits the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my baby loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.

Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because I know my mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.

Normal is disliking jokes about death or funerals, bodies being referred to as cadavers, when you know they were once someone's loved one.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of your child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.

Normal is feeling a common bond with friends on the computer in England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and all over the USA, but yet never having met any of them face to face.

Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is discussing with a friend in the Netherlands how different funeral customs are there than here. Discussing how much both our children loved the things they loved and how those things are now sitting lonely collecting dust.

Normal is talking to a co-worker and the conversation going toward how you felt after your child died.

Normal is feeling like you know how to act and are more comfortable with a funeral than a wedding or a birthday party. Yet, feeling a stab of pain in your heart when you smell the flowers, see that casket, and all the crying people.

Normal is going to bed feeling like your kids who are alive got cheated out of happy cheerful parents and instead they are stuck with sober, cautious people.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's and why didn't I's go through your head constantly.

Normal is having the TV on the minute I walk into the house to have noise because the silence is deafening.

Normal is seeing my son at the cemetery visiting his sisters grave and thinking, how could this be normal? He shouldn't have to be going through this.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of a penguin. Thinking how they would love it, but how they're not here to enjoy it.

Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother and meeting for coffee and talking and crying together over our children and our new
lives. And worrying together over our living children.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned house or did laundry or if there is any food in the house.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have two or three children because you will never see this person again and it is not
worth explaining that one of them is in heaven. And yet when you say only two to avoid that problem you feel horrible as if you have betrayed that child.

Normal is avoiding McDonald's and Burger King playgrounds because of small happy children that break your heart when you see them.

Normal is wondering angrily a month later why your husband isn't still crying, while he wonders angrily why you haven't stopped.

Normal is planning alternate routes through stores so you don't have to be confronted with the "dreaded aisles," while nevertheless dodging strollers no matter which way you go.

Normal is not knowing whether or not you can accept an invitation to your cousin's wedding next month because you don't know if you will be having one of your breakdowns that day.

Normal is being afraid to surf the internet, watch TV, read a book or listen to the radio because of the world conspiring to salt your wounds by
saying/showing the wrong things.

Normal is wanting another baby in your arms so badly you can taste it, but feeling so disloyal and being so, so afraid.

Normal is having an angel pin specifically designed for your child...not as a gift, but as a memorial.

Normal is sometimes forgetting that our own parents' hearts are broken twice...once for their lost grandchild and again for their child who is lost in a sense just as final.

Normal is sitting outside at night, staring into the sky, wondering why you aren't one of the people blessed enough to see a sign or experience a miracle that you know is being sent just to comfort you.

Normal is sometimes not being able to bear looking at photo albums, and other times being so grateful they're covered in plastic so your endless flow of tears won't ruin the pictures...

Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.

And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".