My New Normal

I finally realize what that dumb grief-centered phrase, “the new normal,” means.

Hey Andrew,

This week you’ll have been gone 27-years. I’m about to turn 40 which means that you would be turning 35 this year. You are part of our family history at this point. We’ll never forget you, we can’t, but so much has happened between 1992 and 2019 that I have begun to wrestle with the fact that you were only 7-years of my story. Georgia is 7-years old. Right now, she is as much of my story as you were…are…well that’s a revelation I’m not sure I like.

I feel like the expanse of time is discrediting the loss. When I say I graduated high school in 1997 that feels like eons ago. I graduated from college in 2001, that was 18-years ago. Why does time feel so short when it’s happening and then 20-years slip by? When I say I lost my brother in 1992 does it carry the same weight as 2002? I feel like it gets cheapened, lessened, negated.

Andrew and I, 1980's
Andrew and I, 1980’s

How many memories have I forgotten? How many characteristics of your personality have slipped past my mind only to peek through in my daughters? Do I even recognize the similarities? So many of my memories surrounding the accident, and immediately after, seem dark with a spotlight highlighting moments. Some things are as clear as if it was a picture, other parts are patchy and I can’t tell if they were a dream or reality. Are my memories getting darker? Will they fade completely?

I don’t know the last time I dreamt of you. That always creates a connection. I’m sorry I was such a pain-in-the-butt big sister. I admit it, I tried to make you mad so you’d get in trouble. I see my girls doing the same thing to each other. I’m on to their games, and now I realize our parents were on to us too.

I know you were here. I know you are in heaven looking down. I know you’re watching my girls right now and laughing at the dancing and gymnastics they are doing in the living room. (I can’t laugh, they are so serious about it. I wonder what this looks like in their heads, I’m pretty sure it looks very different than reality.)

Andrew, scientist age 6
Andrew, scientist age 6

One of my constant regrets, if that’s the right word, is that you never met Matt. If you had met Matt, I feel like the pieces would fall into place and you guys would’ve been best friends. I feel so bad for him this time of year. He wants to help but isn’t sure how. It’s like me and comic books. I want to get into that world but I don’t understand it. You would’ve. You would’ve loved comic books. I bet Dr. Strange would’ve been your favorite. Or maybe Wolverine? Hulk? Thor? Spider-man, definitely Spider-man.

Anyway, what a rambling blog. The thing is, even 27-years later, I’m discovering things about grief, and losing you in particular, that I never knew or dealt with. After 27-years, I guess this is actually the “new normal.” I really hate that phrase. I misunderstood its application to me until just this moment. My new normal: discovering new layers of grief with every milestone. That is the new normal.

8 thoughts on “My New Normal

  1. jzehr3 says:

    I will never forget May 1, 1992. I drove you to the hospital. I pray for your family every year. Anniversaries are hard, this one is even more so.

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  2. Susan Britton says:

    Life’s a journey and our emotions and memories deal with different layers doesn’t it? It is hard, but I am also glad that the pain gradually lessens so we can live each day.
    I am sorry too that you were often overlooked during those early days and months and people rushed to help “the parents” and not so much the daughter. I’m sorry for that in particular. That said I still always visualize what your father often says. We just have to landscape the crater he left behind to honor him and his memory. Love you so much Meg and glad we have you! XOXO

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  3. Peggy Alberda says:

    Beautifully written Meg!
    What a time that was, so many memories and fears, our world was shaken! Life to never be the same.
    Dreams ran through my nights making everything ok again, night after night but it was not ok.
    How could this be? Such a hard truth to accept for all of us! Although it will never be ok, you have been shining examples of how to live when living seems impossible.
    I’m so thankful a day is coming when you will all be united once again!
    I love you guys…

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  4. Jeff says:

    The blog is well put… if there is any rambling it’s because that is the only way to think about these things. There is no 1, 2, 3. I didn’t read this on the anniversary. I waited so I could manage myself better. Sinkholes still open and a person can fall right in, so I make sure the ground is solid before I jump up and down. I wish I could have been better for you in the years following May 1 1992. You were a teenage girl.. that’s weird enough – NOBODY understands that… and then I was contending with other difficult life events that followed Andrew’s jump to light speed. changing jobs… changing churches… I think the first time I really laughed was in the fall of 1992 when some newscaster – reporting on the Hurricane Andrew – declared that the super-storm had been downgraded to a tropical DEPRESSION… THAT was what passed for funny for me in the fall of 1992. I am glad you found your way through this, as we all did. I just wish I could have found a way to provide more guidance for you. fact is, I didn’t have much of that to go around for me or anyone. But you’ve done alright with what little I could get to you. Good Job!

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