Since December 15, people have amazed me. Ninety-eight percent of the time, it’s been in the most positive ways you can ever imagine. I am humbled by the love, generosity, support, shared tears, unselfishness, authenticity, and pure kindness of each and every person who has formed a circle of care around us — those who know us or knew Chandler and those who only know us indirectly.
People often ask, “How are you doing?” followed immediately by, “I know that’s a stupid question.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s NEVER a stupid question as long as the person asking it actually wants to know how you’re doing.
Stupid questions imply that there is only one obvious answer, and you should know it. There are a multitude of answers that could be offered on any given day or moment to the question, “How are you doing?’ And it’s not always obvious which answer may emerge.
In the case of someone who is trying to find a way to patch a gaping, jagged hole in the fiber of his or her being, the answer could be anything from, “I’m doing great today” to “I don’t see a reason to go on” and anything in between.
Today was a really good day. I loved being at work. I loved stopping by HotWorx to do Pilates in 125-degree heat. My answer during most of those moments would have been, “I’m doing as OK as you can do in this circumstance.”
But if you asked me when I got home and saw the AAA car insurance cancellation notice with Chandler’s name on the envelope, I would have said, “Just shitty.”
In general, I think I’m doing really well. Sometimes I wonder if a shoe is about to drop and I won’t be doing well. I am a bundle of contradictions. I’m happy and joyful and yet profoundly sad. I’m energetic and yet lethargic. I’m passionate and yet apathetic. I’m finding my way and yet lost.
Please know that I am making this up as I go along, this process of grieving the loss of my son Chandler. I’ve never done this before, and even if I had, these specific circumstances and constellation of details would be different than for any other loss. I don’t know the right questions to ask or the right responses.
So when you ask, “How are you doing?” I will be as honest as I can. And I won’t call your question stupid if you won’t call my answer stupid. Deal?