Haven’t been here in awhile, not that I haven’t thought about it alot. Since Seattle, it seems there’s been a reversion to those first several weeks where I could only receive from others. I read emails, get voicemail, etc, but have had no ability to grab those outstretched hands and return the gesture. Cocooning at home. Until today, I hadn’t left the house and done an errand on my own for several days. And by that, I mean, like eleven days. Brad and I went to get plants for the vegetable garden, I went to work at the hospital Saturday, I’ve gone to see my counselor and gone to support group. All there and back.
Meanwhile I’ve begun to schedule out the next several months as if I were fine, as if it were life pre-December 15th. I even have a run at the hospital in June for 4 full days, one day off, then 3 more 1/2 days. I don’t know what else to do but schedule things “as if” and see how I am when I get there. The alternative is to remove myself from the world indefinitely, which is in fact the preference, but the world at large frowns upon that, doesn’t it. Might put a long-term strain on my marriage, too.
One would think that if a weekend in Seattle on my own puts me in such a funk for days on end, it would be prudent to err on the side of caution with regards to the To Do/Obligation list. June seems fairly far away, “maybe I could do it”. But May 17th sounded far away when I got a reprieve from having to return to school, and here we are, just a couple weeks away again. Still not sure I’m ready, definitely not looking forward to it. It’s not like I even have to be there at 8:00 AM, as I’m starting out with just afternoons (good thing too, since 11:30 AM still seems to be the rising hour of choice).
I don’t know. I see that I’m different than 4 months ago. I tell our story at support group in 30 seconds instead of the 10-20 minutes I absolutely had to have when we joined. I’m doing some things that look good on the outside with returning to work a little, engaging in activities like planting the garden, weeding, and even joined a small group of friends for a birthday awhile ago. But I feel the same inside, so different does not feel better. I still cry every day, often multiple times a day. I’m still rocking on my knees in the fetal position in the nursery at least once every couple weeks. I sit in the rocker and look to the closet and wonder what she’d be wearing now. I stare, or cry, or scream, or destroy, or all of the above. The real difference seems to be that in between those times, instead of moving to the sofa still incapacitated, I get up and do something. Household stuff, appointments, or this.
It’s interesting to watch your life play out according to the grief books. You read about people going away a few months in, but when it happens it’s surreal. “Wow. Just like they said.” There’s no fault or blame, it’s just....weird. Reading about it is so very, very different than experiencing it. It’s true that you find who you can go to, who your support system is. Those people who fully expect you to still be crying, to still want to talk about it, to still be a mess, and who aren’t fooled by “looking good”. Those people whose patience you don’t wear out.
I spoke with a friend who lost her 8 year old 13 years ago. She said the second year is worse than the first, because people think that once you’ve gotten through all those ‘firsts’, you’re on your way to recovery and all those dates won’t be so hard again. She said it’s not even the big dates and holidays that are hardest! It’s the everyday. That’s what you’re really missing, right? What makes up your everyday. It’s not like you just have kids on Christmas or their birthday. It’s all the in-between. It’s the routines, learning who they are, what foods they like, their favorite toy, their favorite story, their style, their personality, what makes them laugh, what soothes them. It’s knowing them more intimately than anyone else and in doing so anticipating their every need, shaping them by setting boundaries, and them learning they are safe with you. It’s the million little things that make up a family. That’s what’s hard. For now, that’s why it feels like it will never get better.