It's ok to not be ok

We are told that our lives

Should be spent with smiles on our blank faces

Gratitude for the day, despite

The tragedies that strike—war, famine

The death of our precious babies.

We are not told of the beauty of being

Fractured, of living yet with

Broken limbs and broken hearts

Scars that disfigure, both in and out

The imperfections of a mortal life

As humans we are meant to suffer.

We are meant to endure the horrific

The shadows of the sun

The veins and tangles beneath the surface.

Instead we are to be sterile, shutterlipped

Yet after death, our minds turn towards the worst.

My infant nephew had a seizure,

My brain firing neurons of panic—

Cerebral overdrive, powered by grief,

Will he be buried next to my son?

Why us? Are we cursed?

He made it out alive!

My mind a cacophony of hysterics,

Joy mingled with "Why me? Why us?"

Why did the angel of death steal my son

Why did he not steal hers?

Yet we must be thankful

We must not grieve, although our souls are meant

To bend beneath the weight as tree branches.

To endure the unendurable.

Today I honor my pain with honest words

I do not placate the suffering with lies

I do not numb with empty platitudes

I do not brand my scars with faith

"It was meant," my friends say

My husband stops them–

And what of the children that die?? The babies?

The ignorance of those too naive

Not jaded enough

Never stricken down to their knees

From unbearable suffering,

From the inevitable

Today we do not sugarcoat,

We do not warp reality

This broken family of wisdom and pain

This family of equal joy and grief

It's ok to not be ok

To not be complete

To smile while your heart stings

To laugh amongst tear-streaked eyes

It's ok to wear your wounds on your chest

The same way you wear your love.

We endure this life as trees

Bending to the weight of love and pain.

How do you feel about not being okay?