Sunset on the California Coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Many people told me I was “strong” when I was deep in grief. I think it’s meant as a compliment. It doesn’t help, though. I don’t feel strong. I feel broken. This life isn’t a choice I made, like running a marathon or getting a PhD. It isn’t something I prepared for and overcame. My loss is a traumatic event over which I never had a choice. And I’m not strong, because I don’t want to be.

“Strong” is a straw man.

“Strong” is how we describe someone with no humanity.

“Strong” is a word we use when someone is in pain and we want them to hurry up out of it and be okay. I will never be okay. I don’t want to be that resilient person who “bounces back” and “moves on,” as if loss were just another chapter in a long and happy life.

My loss is a permanent part of me. I will always grieve.

I am not “strong;” I am just a human being. 

I am not strong. I don’t want to be.