Are you okay?

“Are you okay?”

Now, I know you mean well.
But this question only frustrates me
Because society demands a clear answer.
Black or white; but I’m drowning in the gray area
There’s just two answers.

But that’s not all.
Let me explain my predicament further.

I could say:  “I’m not okay.”
Then watch their eyes shift and their feet shuffle.
They touch your shoulder and say “I’m sorry.”
Yeah me too.
Sorry that death is so sudden, and marriages fail.
Sorry that people lie and relationships derail

I could say: “I am okay.” But I’m afraid to.
I might be okay now but I don’t know
About tomorrow, or next week.
Will you be there when the shock ends and the pain sets in?
Friends see you crying, stop and request an explanation.
You shout in exclamation “Don’t you remember? It’s only been a week!”
A week since the funeral. A month since the call.
A year since a close friend ended it all.

See we’re all stuck looking to answer this question that demands a clear answer.
Deep down looking for that person to understand and express 
that healing is a process.
With bad days, and good days in no particular order.
Like climbing up two steps and right back down three on a ladder

Instead of judgment, questions or clichés
That person simply says
“I know pain so well, friend. Wherever you are right now. That’s what matters.
No expectations for tomorrow or demands from the past.
Like an arm in a cast, be patient in healing.
All the while I’ll simply ask:
How are you feeling?”

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