In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Plead the Fifth.”

It has been seven years since my son, Alex, passed away and ten years since my husband was killed in a metro link derailment.  Would you believe that people still ask me how I am with trepidation in their voice?  If it was just, ‘How are things?’ ‘What’s up?’ or ‘Anything new?’ I would be fine and tell them I’m fine and go on my way.  But that quiet, almost inaudible, question,”So, how are you doing, Patty?”  It isn’t any easier today than it was ten years ago. I still don’t know what to say.  The truth is that I’m doing so  much better.  It has been a dark and hollow trek through that tunnel each day to come to this point where I am today.  Now, I have a purpose, a passion, and a renewed love for life that I never believed possible.  But, there is another truth.  I still miss my son everyday.  If I see a picture in the corner of my eye, my heart catches and the tears start falling, no matter how hard I try to hold them in.  My dreams are still filled with good times and bad with my husband and it isn’t unusual to wake up holding my pillow in a strangle-hold, whispering through my tears, “Don’t go, don’t go!”

There isn’t a kind and easy way to ever ask a grieving mother or wife how she is doing with her losses.  The fact is, there are things that will never change.  The deep hole that has been stabbed in my heart with an ice pick when I lost my son, will never, no never, go away.  And the devastation and hopelessness of having the love of my entire life ripped away in seconds because of an evil man who jammed his truck into the tracks, poured gasoline the inside and outside of his truck trying to get his wife’s attention, will not leave my heart or mind.  With him I lost my best friend, my lover, all of our future hopes and dreams.  We were supposed to be grandparents together, walk our children down the aisle, and enjoy our retired years together.

The one thing that I know that I know is that there is no time limit to grief and that question will never be an easy one to answer.  I plead the fifth.