The Day After

img_3387Sometimes it isn’t until the day after a tragedy that it starts to really sink in.  It’s not until after you close your eyes and your body finally succumbs to sleep.  You awaken in the morning to the stark reality.  It’s true.  It really happened.  You get to make the realization all over again.  Somehow the roots start to take hold.  Before maybe it still could have been a dream.

I always hate it when a movie or story has a dream sequence.  It’s always during that part of the story that just can’t be real, the most horrifying part, the death, the carnage, the loss.  And then the hero wakes up.  None of it was true.  It was all a dream.  Except in life, that never really happens.  The truth is the truth.  You don’t get to shake it off.  You don’t get to say, oh wow, thank God that was just a dream!  No.  Reality is often much worse than that.

My mother has only come to me once in a dream since she passed away 2 months ago.  She told me everything was OK and then I woke up.  She looked like she did those last moments I saw her as I leaned over her trying to bring her back.  Eyes wild.  Skin pale with a slight sheen of sweat.  Her hair in wild wisps.  She seemed desperate.  I’m OK.  Everything is OK.  She wanted me to believe it.  I tried.  She just didn’t look like herself.

The day after a tragedy is probably one of the longest days on earth.  It feels like walking through thick smoke, breathing in thick dust, feeling the heat of flames licking at your face.  Wandering.  Lost.  Confusion.  Why?  Could I have done something?  Could the tragedy have been stopped?  If only I knew something was wrong.

The need to create order kicks in pretty quick.  The need to DO something propels you forward.  Arrangements need to be made.  Family needs to be called.  The place on the floor where the paramedics worked needs to be cleaned -which then leads to cleaning in general.  Start picking up the pieces.  People will be coming.  Probably should get dressed.  Feed the kids.  Walk the dog.  The world keeps turning.  One breath at a time.  One step at a time.  You move forward trying not to get stuck in the moment.  The worst moment.

I remember when it happened.  I remember feeling this way before.  Before I knew what true loss felt like.  After 15 years, when I stop to consider it, the feelings from that day come rushing back.  I remember the collective cries of a nation.  All at once, no!  This can not be true!  A dream?  A nightmare?  It was no dream.  It was true.  The day after proved the unthinkable.



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16 Responses to The Day After

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t even fathom this.


  2. 2ndhalfolife says:

    Very true. The day the world changed….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Blue Sky says:

    These are such familiar feelings portrayed so accurately! I am so sorry for your loss! Right now, as life continues on may be even harder for you… I hope it was helpful to share them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes thank you. As with loss of any kind it takes time. A new normal starts to form. But there’s this part that feels hollow and empty. It helps to talk about my mom and share with my blogging friends❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Blue Sky says:

        It does take time to not constantly live in the awareness of our grief. There will always be those unforeseeable moments that will cause us to become aware our grief is still hidden under the layers inside. It is very important to be able to talk about her. It reminds me of a line in a movie called “Shadowlands” (based on the life of C.S. Lewis)… “The pain then is part of the joy now, that’s the deal.” The quote was by C.S. Lewis’s wife, Joy, when she was dying and he was struggling with talking to her about her death.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks I needed that😊❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Barbara says:


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bradley says:

    Excellent post. I will never forget that day or the day after, but I couldn’t handle the barrage of TV shows and blog posts. I skipped both of them yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Where were you when the world stopped turning? | From guestwriters

  7. Yes, the day after. Gathered, we were a family of barely wakened zombies glued to the TV. Thank goodness for the presence of a 2-year old infant; her needs had to trump all, we had to feed and play and laugh and entertain her. Thank goodness for the blessings and distractions of a little girl… proof that life must go on.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This was astounding to read. We have all bared witness to the unthinkable. NO, never here this is America. You are right, the day after was the true reality.

    Liked by 1 person

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