Monday, December 16, 2013

Always Being the "Strong" One

I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I've been told to "stay strong" or "be strong" since my husband passed away. It's what everyone tells you to do or how to hold up in the face of tragedy. Not that there's anything wrong with telling someone that; it's words of comfort to some people. And really, it is a good choice when dealing with tragedy; the best choice (in my opinion) is to let the tragedy strengthen you. However, I also think it's okay to NOT be strong some times. To break down, to cry, to yell and for once, not be the strong one.

Last Sunday my grandpa had a massive stroke. It definitely wasn't looking very positive for awhile last week and although he's making progress, he's far from being back to where he was and things change day-to-day so quickly we don't what to expect. Once again, I heard encouraging words of "stay strong" when I finally told people about it. I felt like I was pressured to visit him because I'm the "strong one" who can handle seeing my grandpa in that condition.

My honest reaction? Why do I always have to be the strong one? 

I've survived and stayed strong through losing Rod, losing a friend to cancer earlier this year and always, always was the strong one so everyone else could feel better, could grieve, could cry and break down. When is it my turn to NOT be strong? When is it okay for me to break down?

I'm trying. I promise I am. Trying to be strong even as my grandpa looks scared as I approach him. I don't know if he doesn't know who I am or what, but that look of fear on his face was heartbreaking. 

I'm trying to stay strong for my family because that's what I'm expected to be, but the stress and the pressure of being strong for everyone else is weighing on me. I know I'm fiercely independent and have survived a nightmare, but I'm also a little fragile. I know I'm supposed to be unbreakable, but I don't know if am. I know I'll get through this; we all will. Sometimes though, I want it to be okay to not be strong, to break down, to cry, to have someone take care of me. But I will figure it out, how to be the strong one now as we figure our way through this with my grandpa.

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