It’s very late in the day to be posting about R U OK day. But, I’m almost always running late… I drive myself nuts… and my family nuts… but they still love me anyway… even though they are NOT okay with it on ANY day, but are very used to it. At least I am consistent in one area of my life… sigh!
Anyway, I came across this beautiful post by Robyna May of Chasing His Sunshine that she wrote a few years ago and straight away I emailed her for permission to share here, for it is just as relevant today as it was then.
Robyna is an incredibly gifted writer and compassionate soul. She is a loving mother of three boys, two here on earth and one in heaven. Her blog, Chasing His Sunshine, is about “Parenting after loss. The tears, the fears and, above all, the love that remains for all three of my sons.”
This post says everything about the importance of checking in with people on any day of the year, not just on R U OK day and that is a really powerful message of awareness to take away from her words.
Robyna also writes over at The Mummy and The Minx where she shares her thoughts on finding the minxy in motherhood.
Thank you so much Robyna for allowing me to share your meaningful words here…
Today is Are You OK? day. A day that reminds us of the importance of reaching out to those around us. A day where we should go beyond a casual, throw-away “How are you?”
That question has become an empty courtesy – like “Hello” and “Good-bye” but how often do we expect or want a real answer? We are taught to reply “well” or “fine” when we may be anything but. When we first lost Xavier I learned to distinguish between the sincere “How are you?” and the concessions to politeness. Indeed, there were many who avoided asking all together, I can only imagine for fear of the answer. It’s a brave thing – to ask “Are you okay?” or “How are you?” and be willing to truly accept the responsibility of a honest answer. In our time poor, meme rich lives, how often do we engage in real conversation that reveals the heart? We have become used to a few words on a Facebook status to describe “How are you feeling?” But our hearts and souls need more than that. We need time and conversation and nourishment. How often are we willing to invest that time in one another?
In the first few weeks after Xavier died, when strangers asked “How are you?”, there were times I responded with a completely honest answer. The poor clerks at the check out saddled with an answer that they did not expect. But I needed to tell someone. I needed to say “Not so well – I am hurting today”. And sometimes, the only person that asked was a stranger who was paid to be polite. Most times, however, my beautiful family and friends asked that question in a genuine way. I have two very close girlfriends who are lights in my life. When I would reply “okay” they would respond “no, really – I want to know how you are going today.” And it gave me permission to go beyond our societally regulated responses to the question “How are you?” We need to give people around us that permission – we need to let them know that we genuinely care. When my lovely boss asked me how I was a few weeks after Xavier died, I replied with my standard “okay”. She shook her head and said “You aren’t – you’re not okay, but you will be and right now it’s okay that you’re not okay”. Sometimes we just need to hear that too – sometimes it’s okay not to be okay. I value every time someone genuinely gave me the opportunity to talk about my feelings, particularly in the days, weeks and months following Xavier’s death.
I think that’s what “Are you OK?” day is about – it’s about creating the time and space and love around someone to allow them to talk about what they need to talk about. It’s being completely unselfish and completely genuine when asking the question “Are you OK?” or “How are you?”
So today, ask someone “Are you okay?” and be truly engaged in the answer. You never know the impact it will have on someone’s life.
Love, light and sunshine to you all Xx