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The Perfect Storm

Date: 
Monday, June 12, 2017
Posted By: 
Janey

The perfect storm of grief for me is May, June and July. Three months all in a row that represent days meant for celebration, but for me, bring moments of reflections with great sadness: 

·         May: Mother’s Day and my birthday (sometimes they fall on the same day)

·         June: Father’s Day

·         July: Daughter’s birthday and the following day which is when my husband Dave passed

A young child doesn’t know how to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or birthdays. It is what we teach or do with a child that shows them how to celebrate. For me, I have not felt comfortable showing my little one how to write a card to me on Mother’s day – or how to fix me breakfast in bed – or how to go shopping and surprise me with a gift. It just doesn’t work when you are the only parent. When she is older, I think she will be capable, but for now she is only five.

This summer represents five years since he died. I remember very vividly after his sudden and unexpected passing from a heart-attack at the age of 35 sharing, “For the next five years, I can say whatever I want.” If I wanted to cuss like a sailor – then so be it, etc.

I had so much pain and was in so much shock. I was trying to survive and I wanted to make sure that no one was allowed to correct me no matter what I said or did. As this five-year proclamation is coming to an end, I can unfortunately say I never really had that crazy moment of freak out where I got to use my ‘pass’. I remember walking into the funeral home the day of Dave’s church service. His sister was sitting in her car with her husband having a huge crying spell. Yelling, crying, body motions, etc. I thought, “How nice it would be to be able to break down like that. But I can’t do that right now as I have to go sign papers, greet people and most of show up for my husband.” A meltdown wasn’t an option.

The next week, when things were dying down with the swirl of funeral stuff, I was home with my mother-in-law. We were crying/talking together and my daughter saw me crying and crawled over to comfort me. Babies are super aware of stress and I understood that I needed to not do this around her. She was a very happy, loving baby and she gave me a reason to get out of bed each morning as well as made each day busy and active so I could sleep at night. Cussing at her wasn’t an option – crying at her wasn’t an option – overall freak with her wasn’t an option. Now that my created ‘five-year-pass’ of saying and doing whatever I want is over and I feel like I never did anything with it I wonder if there is something wrong with me because I never had a huge breakdown? 

In reality, I think I’m not emotionally capable of feeling extremes. I don’t get overly happy and I don’t get overly sad for extended amounts of time. Yes, I get depressed and yes, I can be happy, but between the two I prefer laughter. In my sick, sick perspective of life – I worry that if I become super happy – eventually, something will happen to bring me down. Thus, a status quo of laughter has no let down. There is nothing about this mindset that is healthy, it is just one aspect of me that I am learning about through grief.

After Dave died, I was so wrapped up at how horrible all the ‘first events’ were going to be: first Christmas, first Halloween, first anniversary, first birthday etc. Actually, they weren’t that bad, because they were no harder than any other day. Each day whether a special day or not was just that hard. Now the days between holidays are fairly good. Life is fine and my daughter and I are doing it together. Five years later, most of the holidays are also good. But this annual trilogy of May/June/July is my freak out time. No matter how much time has passed, I don’t want to celebrate/recognize these moments without Dave in my life. These events are a reminder of who isn’t here to tell share my time with – Dave. I don’t want presents, I don’t need attention, I just want him to make me laugh.

So if I can’t laugh, I prefer to keep the emotions on even keel and keep blinders for each of these moments. During these three months, I want to be back in my bubble of survival of getting to do and say whatever I want and no one can correct me. Because reality is, I don’t get what I want. My five years of getting to do/say whatever I want…well it is over. But now I have a new personal mantra: during May, June, July – don’t make me celebrate. Leave me to my own devices. If you can make me laugh – great. But please don’t ask me what I’m doing special for Mother’s Day? How am I celebrating my birthday? How are your recognizing Dave? Just let those days be like all others – sun goes up and sun goes down. 

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