There is a lot of pressure that comes with grieving. Every day, we get watched, observed, sized up.

People are constantly looking to us to set the tone. We can hear them holding their breath, waiting for us to smile, or laugh, or cry.

We are also holding our breath, waiting to see how people will react to us.

If we laugh, will people think we’re being disrespectful to our daughter? Because sometimes we laugh.

If we cry, will we make people feel awkward? Because we cry, a lot.

If we smile, will people think we’re okay? Because we’re not okay. We’re not better, or fixed, or over it.

It’s this constant up and down, like a thermometer…rising and falling.

But most of all, we put pressure on ourselves. We get tired of crying, but we feel guilty if we don’t.

We miss hearing her voice, but just the sound of it can throw us into utter despair.

Our friends invite us to things. We want to be with them. But sometimes it’s just too much. We hope they keep inviting. We hope one day it won’t be too much.

Grief is a dance we don’t know the steps to, but we shuffle along, trying not to mess up.