February 28, 2011

My Car

By Kaci Goodrich Uipi

People always tell me how strong I am. I hear it all the time. Even a sister in our ward mentioned it in her testimony last month...at the pulpit. Yes, this did make me just a little uncomfortable. I don't want people to think that about me...more so, I don't want people to think that I think that about me. I understand why they are saying it, but it's hardly true, at least to me, anyway.

To me, I'm just a normal person living my life...and then BOOM, something bad happens. However, bad things happen to people all the time. Yes, you could say that what happened to me is a little bit bigger than the average "bad thing", but I still don't consider my self "so strong".

While we were in the hospital for 3 weeks, everyone would call us or stop by and say, "You two are so strong, I don't know how you do it!" At the funeral, people would say, "You both are so strong, I don't know how you do it!" Well, let me tell you my secret: my car.

My car has become my safe place. My sanctuary. I get inside my car, put my sunglasses on, cover my mouth with one hand (this is in case someone sees me and wonders why my mouth is wide open), and let it all out. I now know what it means to "wail", and I don't say that boastfully.

A perfect example of this happened the other day as I went to Goodyear to help my sister. It was late morning. The same time I used to drive down that exact same freeway every day to be with Joshua in the PICU. As soon as I started approaching the exit for the hospital, it hit me...Joshua's not there. I was overcome with emotions of sadness and despair. However, it was okay...I was safe inside my car! Oh how I love my car! I don't even drive a nice car, but it doesn't matter... That morning, I was able to let it all out, and hold nothing back.

I started wishing he was still in that hospital. Yes, even hooked up to all those ugly machines and being poked only a hundred times each day. I wanted him to be there still, because if he was, then I could at least go and see him, hold his hand, and maybe dream of the one day we would be able to take him home again and finally get back to our "normal life".

After I got a little further down the freeway, my crying naturally slowed down, and I was able to think about what just happened. "He's not in that hospital. It's over. He's gone, and I won't ever be able to find him in that hospital ever again," I told myself.

It's said that tears shed during grieving are different than regular tears. I believe they are more cleansing, and to some people (especially women), are almost an essential part of the grieving process.

If being "strong" means not crying in front of people, then so be it. As for me, I prefer my car anyway.

Misconception of the ungrieving world: "Not crying means you are super strong." If you don't ever see the griever cry, this doesn't mean they aren't suffering or struggling. Most people wish to grieve extremely private...crawling in their bed under their covers, or in their closest with their door shut. It's not a really bad thing to say, "you are so strong", but please don't think this because you haven't seen them sad. Almost every day I put on a "face" to almost every person I'm around. They would never know the heartache and sick feeling I have unless I told them. And to be honest, I don't care to tell 99% of them.

1 comment:

  1. Kaci,
    I'm a friend of Cristin's. I have an angel in heaven, too. She would be five and a half this month.

    Someone once told me I was strong, and I was so offended. Family members told me, "It makes sense that you would be the one to go through this because you are so strong." My first instinct was to slap them. I didn't feel strong. I felt weak. I only survived because I felt like I didn't really have a choice.

    One day you'll notice how much less often you have to put on a face. I know that day feels very far distant, but it will come one day.


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