When Others Don’t Understand My New ‘Normal’ After the Loss of My Son


“So, are you back to normal yet?”

It’s been 32 weeks today, and I often wonder if this question will ever lessen its sting.

Truthfully, no — not the “normal” other people know. And quite frankly, I don’t want that back.

I’m never going to be back to the “normal” many of my friends and family knew me as before. Like any major trauma, losing my son Jensen has irrevocably changed my whole being and outlook on life. It’s hard to grasp that I’ll never be the same girl who was carefree and never thought any bad “things” could happen to her. The girl who breezed through life and could let things roll of her shoulders is gone. That playful spirit was taken when I hit rock bottom, when those five haunting words were spoken to me. So, no, I’ll never be the “old me” again.

With that all being said, I never want that normal back without Jensen. Of course if he was here, there would be different changes in my life, but not this. I wish I didn’t know child loss or this type of depression or this anxiety, but it’s my reality. Even though I focus on the struggle while I write, there are so many other traits that make this new Danielle’s normal beautiful. Although I wish those things weren’t a part of my life, I also know admirable things about myself now. I know this type of love for a little human, who through all the tears makes me smile. I know strength, even when I feel weak. I know how painfully beautiful it is when the world crumbles around you. I know how perseverance feels when I’m picking up all those crumbs. I know the deep pulling of sadness and how sweet happiness can feel when it comes. I know how precious life is. I know I can look at myself and see the body that created life. And I know that even death could never break the bond of mother and child.

Normal is different now, and my new normal isn’t normal for everyone else. I can understand why that’s so hard to understand on the outside. Before, I wouldn’t be able to get it either. I wouldn’t understand seeing loss posts every day or why I continue to write about Jensen, grief and loss in general.

This is Danielle now. She is a mother to Jensen. She is grieving. Her heart is heavy and her mind is weary. This is her new normal. This is her screaming out and healing in the best way she knows. It’s her wanting to tell you all about Jensen and all the goodness in his life. She can smile through the pain. She can see the world and feel happiness and sadness both at the same time. Danielle carries her son in her heart and wants to share their story. This is not typically normal Danielle — this is her trying her best to live after loss.

I challenge you to ask this question differently. Instead of asking if I’ve regained my normalcy, ask me how my new normal is going.

To my Jensen, happy 32nd week in heaven. It’s another beautiful Tuesday you’ve sent me. I’m so proud of you and am so grateful for all the signs you continually send me. I will always carry you in my heart until I can have you in my arms. I miss you. I love you.

Follow this journey on Jensen Grey.

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