Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Let Me Be Sad

By now, you've probably already seen Pixar's Inside Out  and you probably already know how wonderful it is not only as a touching and hilarious movie, but as a great insight into human emotions.   This movie is a thousand shades of deep, and every time I watch it, I find something else that is so very spot-on.    For me, the most poignant scene is the one where Bing-Bong, a long forgotten imaginary friend, is upset.  While Joy wants to distract Bing-Bong and make him forget why he's in pain, Sadness comes and sits with him.   Sadness listens to him.  She doesn't offer advice.  She doesn't try to get him to think of something else.  Sadness lets him be sad.   And, when he's finished being sad, he gets up and goes on with the mission at hand.  Take a minute and refresh your memory with this Youtube clip:

Why is this scene so important to me?  Why am I showing it to you?  Why am I writing a blog post about it?  Because I want you to just let me be sad.   Because I want you to know that it is okay to be sad - that sadness is a part of life and it's not the end of the world.   Sadness heals.  It really does.  

When I am feeling sad, and I let people know I am having a hard time, there are so many wonderful people who just want to make me feel better.   They tell me how strong I am, how amazing I am, how much of a wonderful mother to my girls I am.   They are Joy.   And Joy is wonderful, but it's not always what I need.   See, I know I'm strong.  I don't always want to admit it, but I still know it.  Any woman whose heart continues to beat after her child's ceases is the epitome of strength.   Three years after Kenley's death, I am still alive - and I am busting my ass to give her death a purpose.   I immerse myself in the loss community on a daily basis to make sure she didn't die in vain.  I parent a rainbow in the face of loss and I balance myself on a trembling tightrope stretching between the daughter in my arms and the one in the stars.   I am a fu#@ing warrior.   

And I am exhausted.   Do you know how hard it is to paint a stiff upper lip every day?   Do you know what it's like to carry your child's memory on your back like Atlas?   Sometimes, I just need to be sad.   I need to lay down the Heartbroken Mother mantle, stop being "strong", and allow myself to be weak.   I need to shake with sobs and drown in tears.  I need to coat the world in blues and grays and sink into the sand.   And I need people to sit beside me and say, "Hey, go ahead and be sad.  You don't have to be strong right now.  It's okay."

Because a break in my strength for a little while isn't going to cause my entire armor to crack.  Moments of sadness won't spiral me into a lifetime of hopeless despair.  I cannot be strong all the time.  I cannot fight sadness forever.   There will be times when it overtakes me - and I need to let it.  I need the people around me to let it.    

It is okay to be sad.

I am not depressed.  I am not hopeless.  I am not spiraling into a pit of despair.   I am sad.  I am sad because my child is dead and I miss her.  And I am allowed to be sad.  I am allowed to sit and rest and hold Sadness' hand for a while.  You don't have to try to fix it.   Honestly, by now, do you really think you can?   There is nothing you can do.   Just let me be sad.  Let me rest.  Let me be weak for a little while.  Give me a moment.   Or two.  Or three.

It won't be too long before I dry my eyes and sling her back over my shoulder.   It won't be too long before I'm back to being strong and brave and all those things you tell me I am.   But, for now, especially for now, just let me be sad.  


  1. You described my feelings perfectly right now. I wish everyone could see your blog post and that it is OKAY to be sad. I am so tired of wearing a grief mask because if I don't everyone freaks out because I am sad and I am feeling down and NO pretending that my baby didn't die and thinking positively or thinking of something else does NOT help--I just need to be sad. ((Hugs)) :`( <3 Kenley <3

  2. So well said! I know people mean well, but it really is imperative, at times, to just be in the moment of sadness. I am so sorry for your loss - I am living with the loss of my own child, so I understand only too well the struggle to living after your child has died. Much love to you <3