I’ve definitely slowed down on my posts the last few weeks. I think it may be because I am doing better for the most part. I seem to turn to writing when I’m struggling. It’s been a faithful outlet for me. The holidays are creeping up and I’m glad for that. I love this time of year and I’m looking forward to it, but the last few days I’ve had some really tough moments. I feel like I’m not really saying anything different than I have before, but if nothing else it helps me clear my mind, and again I go back to the fact that I wanted to be honest about the journey. I think that’s so important – the honesty. If anyone is reading this blog for that original purpose…I need to be true to it. I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I am past all of the emotional issues that come along with loss, but at the same time I want to give them encouragement in knowing that it does get better with time – and overall…I AM better and I do LAUGH…a lot!
The last few days though, actually since Saturday, I’ve been going through a lot of struggle. Given my past history with depression, when the pain surfaces, I tend to worry that my sadness is more than it is…that maybe depression is setting in. Thankfully, I was fortunate last night to have had a good talk with a dear friend who has been an anchor for me through the losses of both Mom and Madeleine, who said to me (and I’m quoting because I feel it’s so important and will help others):
“I think sad is normal. I would encourage you to know the difference between drowning and treading water with the sad. Accepting the sad…and allowing yourself the opportunity to move through it – is different than drowning in it and losing all hope.”
Wow. That is an amazing and exceptional insight, and I have been able to look at myself through the lens that it provides and I can see that I AM treading water. I don’t feel hopeless, and I am moving through the sadness… I need a lot of help and support sometimes but I am making progress. I have sooo many great days anymore. It’s just when the sad ones hit…they hit without warning and they hit very hard. But it’s okay. It’s going to be this way for awhile. Mom hasn’t been gone a year yet and Madeleine has only been gone five and a half months. It’s all very fresh no matter that I tend to expect myself to be “better”. I read a quote the other day… “Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.” I suspect that Mom and Madeleine were greatly loved…
I know my being wants to put the pain behind me and be back to “normal”. What I am having help realizing is that “normal” doesn’t exist anymore and it never will. A new normal is going to emerge and I don’t know yet what that is going to be, but I do know that it will be okay and I will be okay.
I look outside the window right now and see some of the first snow flurries of the season and I remember back to a year ago. Today that memory brings a lot of pain, but I can accept it today. I’m okay to hurt today, because I know I won’t hurt every day, and maybe not even an hour from now. Grief is like that. The snake in the grass that weaves in and out, coming and going all the while you can’t see where it’s at or when it will strike or when it will recede back under its little rock to wait for another day. I am at a point where I allow the hurt to flow through me and to allow myself to really feel it. I realize that trying to push it away doesn’t change anything…it only delays the healing. So…feel away! It’s actually quite freeing to allow the pain to come through and still be able to smile sometimes while you’re feeling it. It just reflects the love that you have inside of you for those you have lost.
My daughter gave me a wonderful gift…one of the blankets that we had Madeleine wrapped in. I tucked it away in a bag and when I need my Maddie fix…I take it out and drink in her smell. And THAT makes me the luckiest person in the world. 🙂 Do I miss her? Of course! But I still believe we were blessed beyond measure to have had her for four days. I have a very different perception of time anymore. Before Madeleine…four days was such a short time. Now…four days is a whole lifetime! It’s a whole lifetime that was filled with love and joy and baby smells and cuddles. It wasn’t time spent wondering how long or when…it was spent soaking her in…and I ask you…how do you beat that? 🙂