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Rivers & Roads Blog by Patty Inwood

Writing my blog last week was like saying good-bye to my son a second time. Truthfully, I had put off telling this part of Luke’s *story* because sharing his life with you all has made him seem more *here* than when I am holding him to myself in my heart. It has been incredibly healing to go through this experience and I am beyond appreciative to everyone that has shared their words of support over the two years it took me to get to this place. You have my love. Xxx

PLUS! I knew writing this sh*t would be hard, lol. And therein came the inspiration for this week’s blog. Here’s what happened last Sunday:

John had headed out to golf with a buddy and the time seemed right to pull out my laptop and get the blog done. I often write when John is out of the house because I know how hard it is for him to watch me drag myself back down the emotional path of losing Lukester. When I hurt, it hurts him, too. Sigh. He is a good man.

So, I sat in my fuzzy chair in my girl’s room and finished the final chapter in the Rise and Fall of Luke Inwood. And with my last keystroke, I wailed. I am usually a quiet cryer, but when the whole horrible reality of Luke being dead hits me, it rises up and comes out of me sounding more like a police siren. Alert! Alert! Mother with a broken heart coming through! “You’re okay!” I can hear my sister saying, and I want desperately to make it so.

I am still crying as I put my laptop away on the table, and I decide to try and remove the heaviness of my heart by floating in the pool in the sun. There is nothing more therapeutic for my soul than being in the warmth of the sun with nothing but the chirp of the birds and my own quiet breathing to still my emotions. But to do that, I need to put in my contacts and change, so I head up the stairs to our bathroom.

Standing at the vanity, contact case in hand, I catch myself in the mirror, and the woman staring back at me just looks so forlorn, so tired, that I start to cry again – because that woman is ME after all. “I’m okay,” I keep whispering to myself, gulping for air, ” I’m okay.” It was comical, really, because I am trying so hard to convince myself when all evidence points to the contrary. I am not okay. I have lost a son. I have relived it for all to see and it has dragged out all the old trauma and emotions. Today, after feeling Luke die a second time, I am definitely not okay.

So here’s what I need you to know: Whether today is your Day One or Day 100, you need to know that sometimes your sadness just has to get out – it’s okay to not be okay. Perhaps you haven’t lost a loved one, but the stress of these Covid and quarantine times are getting to you – it’s okay to not be okay. Maybe you are one of my lovelies and you are feeling the pressure of supposed to be having your shit together, when really you don’t –it’s okay to not be okay. I know we don’t want to fall down the rabbit hole in a trail of negative thoughts, but everybody experiences a day or two. I feel like society demands we put on a brave face – keep calm and carry on and all that – and I think all that does is push the pain down. And you know it’s going to pop up when you least expect it, lol. And what about social media? As we struggle to contain our feelings of sadness or being overwhelmed, we feel like less than others, because, hey… all those people on Facebook and Instagram are totally together. Right? UGH. When was the last time you saw a mother’s pain on social media? Never happens.

It’s okay to not be okay. It is not weak to let your emotions show. The important thing is to acknowledge that space – Take a moment, breathe, let the feelings out. Tell someone how you are feeling: A friend, a teacher, a therapist, a helpline, Miss Patty. Connecting and sharing our feelings reminds us we are not alone. I was lucky a few of my besties reached out to me last Sunday.

“I am wrecked,” I told them.

“We love you and we’ve gotchu,” they told me. And it helped. It’s okay to not be okay today… and maybe even tomorrow. Better days are coming. Hold on. Xxx

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