Keep on keepin’ on

A woman I used to work with came home one day to find her husband dead of a heart attack. After the funeral service, which I attended along with the rest of our work group, I told my colleague that I would be praying for her. It seemed like the right thing to say, even though I don’t pray. She took some time off, a few weeks, I think. When she came back to work, it was business as usual. She was as efficient and thoughtful as ever and always ready with a smile.

This was before death had touched my life, when my only connection to tragic loss was through movies. I couldn’t understand how she could be so cheerful when she’d lost her husband. She seemed fine, but how could she possibly be fine?

When my father died two years later, I had the same questions about my mom. I remember telling my husband, who was my solid rock of support while I grieved for my dad, that I didn’t understand how she was coping. “If anything happened to you,” I told him, “I don’t know how I’d go on.”

Well, now I know. You go on because in real life the world doesn’t stop for your tragedy. You go on because the bills still have to be paid somehow. You’re not fine, but you keep on keepin’ on anyway. And you smile and try to stay positive because, while the sympathy of family and friends is a great comfort at first, after a while you don’t want everyone thinking of you as That Poor Widow.

You fake it til you make it. Eventually the smiles are less forced, the laughter is genuine. There is pleasure in life again. There are still tears, still raw moments of grief, but they don’t knock you down as hard… or even if they do, you don’t stay down as long. You get back up and you keep on keepin’ on, one day at a time.


~ by hourbeforedawn on September 9, 2010.

3 Responses to “Keep on keepin’ on”

  1. It’s my motto at work (and I don’t mean my motto when I am in my work place, but my life motto actually in motion in one’s life): In the end, it will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

    As an adult, I haven’t been touched by the trauma that you have been through, but I have dragged myself through one challenge, one daunting task, one horrific realization, at a time with these words. Maggie’s mom was a champion of “Fake it ’til ya make it.”

    Whatever works; right?

  2. I’ve asked my mom the same thing about how she got through it when my sister died so young – how did she keep going every day? She said there were other people that still needed her so she did exactly what you are doing – just put one foot in front of the other until she could walk again.

    I cannot pretend to understand how she felt or how you feel but I am so glad that you are able to share this experience – you never know who will be out there finding your words at exactly the time they need to hear them.

  3. Lira – I’ll NEVER think of you as TPW because you are too incredibly wise, gifted, creative and loving to wear that title. I like the ‘fake it until you make it’ philosophy because, from my experience, that is ALL you can do (OK, but crying and eating chocolate all day doesn’t really help after a while). I really get what you mean about the world not stopping for your tragedy – the world doesn’t even seem to care one iota – and there’s tragedy aplenty on the evening news. Even if the world did stop, I don’t know if that would make it better. No knowing, I guess. Keep on – my friend, keep on.

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