When we observe other peoples lives we often find ourselves thinking, "How do they cope with that?" or "Why do they put up with X/Y/Z?" or "There is no way I could deal with that", but that is because it is not Normal for us so we cannot think how it would possibly be something we could deal with.
Before Lauren died I thought that I could not survive the death of one of my children, that it would be too much to bear, yet here I am. And I'm actually doing okay. Without a doubt there are tough times, quite a lot more than usual at the moment, but there are also fun times and happy times to go alongside the sad times.
Recently, when discussing possible holiday destinations we debated, quite openly, whether it would be more or less difficult to go somewhere we'd been with Lauren, It wasn't a big heart to heart, but more akin to debating if the beaches are nice. It has become Normal for us to consider our reactions to grief and to make allowances accordingly. It does not feel strange to have these conversations, although I'm sure to others it would sound either heart-breaking or bizarre. In fact, to us, what does now seem strange is that we didn't use to have them, that we didn't always live with the ever present pain, the head tilts of strangers and the special meaning placed on rainbows. I can't actually remember how I used to think or feel or do, sometimes Lauren feels almost like a dream, a previous existence that I can't quite touch or feel.
That is the reality of grief, of the pain of grief, that it just becomes Normal. When you do something, feel something, every single day, it is your Normal, there's no way it couldn't be. Not at first, obviously but, 2 1/2years in, daily learning the best ways to navigate the pain becomes second nature. At least that is my reality, it might not be how everyone feels.
Everyone has a different Normal that they have to live with, and quite often we don't get a say in what that Normal is, we just need the grace and courage to face it