The Road to OK

Mt. St. Helens After Eruption - View Across Spirit Lake, National Forest Service

A fellow member of a FaceBook group posted a comment that made my heart ache.

She had told her dying husband that she would be OK… but she wasn’t. Oh, she took care of the kids, she went to work, she put meals on the table… but she wasn’t OK. And she didn’t know how to be.

Boy, did that take me back.

I had forgotten…

The hospice chaplain, when she came to give Bruce last rites, had me talk to him. To say good-bye. He was barely conscious, and only moaned in response. She coached me through talking to him, and prompted me to say, “And I’ll be OK.”

And I did.

But I wasn’t.

I wasn’t OK. Life sucked. It was worse than I could have imagined. For longer than I expected.

But I kept going. I got out of bed every day. I fed the cats, and myself. I paid bills. I went to work, and I appeared to handle it gracefully, with focus, so I’m told. (The operative word being “appeared”.)

And every fiber of my being hurt.

And I couldn’t give up, because I had told him I’d be OK.

Damn it!

I spent several months being pissed at that chaplain.

I got over it.

The being pissed part, anyway.

And eventually I got to OK.

First in moments and spurts. And then more.

And I have gotten to Better Than OK.

Much better.

Photo by Peter Prehn, c 2007, Creative Commons

Mount St. Helens will never be the same. But the hills around it have turned green again and life has returned to the mountainsides.

To my Facebook friend I said, You are on the road to OK.

I have walked that road.

It goes Somewhere. I promise.

“When you are going through hell, keep going.” –Winston Churchill

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4 Responses to The Road to OK

  1. Square-Peg Karen July 26, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Ohhhh, Susan – I am so glad I wasn’t encouraged to say “I’ll be ok.” to my (infant) son when he was dying. I’m thinking I’d probably *still* be pissed!

    That said, this is a beautiful, encouraging post. I LOVE your honesty and wisdom (so opposite the thought-less, pain-denying words I have seen and heard many times).

    You write about your feelings during the time after your husband’s death in such a way that I *feel* them (my heart reaches out to yours) AND I feel/see/hear hope for the future (again – so opposite the words many people share that keep them distant from someone else’s pain). Thank you for this! xox

  2. Susan T. Blake July 26, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Karen: XOX. Thank you!

  3. maritherese July 27, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    I feel bad when I read your blog posts. Here, I always learn something new about Susie and a new outlook on life. I feel like I should start my own private blog to you so you can learn about me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your perspective, and apart of you with all of us.

  4. Susan T. Blake July 31, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Maritherese, I would love to read that blog. <3

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