It's hard to believe that I haven't posted anything this month because holidays were always my thing, such a joyful time. I was always bursting at the seams, so excited to decorate. Blasting Christmas tunes in my car the minute Thanksgiving was over.
This Christmas season it's been so tough and I notice how I disappear from social media when I get like this.
I remember hearing a father at a Compassionate Friends group say in a voice whacked with grief, that the second year following his devastating loss was far worse than the first year. And I was startled to hear this. But now, I think I get it.
Last December at this time I was still basically numb. I was going through all the motions of life but according to trauma specialists, I was still being protected from the full emotional brunt of Patrick's loss because of the way my brain and nervous system went into survival mode. Now that the numbness is lifting...it's like having the scab ripped off your wounds.
I describe it like being in the middle of heart surgery when everything seems to be manageable and then BOOM! Without warning the anesthesia wears off and you slowly begin to experience the raw, withering pain that was always there, but muffled by the wooziness of your shock. The worst thing about it--is that there's no where to go to escape this unbearable condition. The physician and nurses are gone. The hospital room is dim and silent. And there's no action left that can ever change the outcome.
It's just you and the truth.
This is how it feels when you begin to face the reality of your child being gone. As you can imagine, this kind of grief transcends words.
But please realize. I'm not sharing this because I want anyone to feel bad for me, I share it because I believe that telling the truth is the only way towards the light. And I want women who come to my blog to know that if you're feeling down or depressed for whatever your reasons, it's OK. You're not alone. Although during the holidays it's easy to feel this way.
Going into shopping malls this Christmas has been like torture and I literally hunker down with my shoulders up, praying that I don't hear certain Christmas songs overhead as I hurry through the stores, especially the men's department at Macys. I try to avoid the stores I browsed with Patrick, the racks with those jeans he bought (and usually left at a friend's house (wink). But shopping anywhere is dangerous territory because of the unexpected memories that pop up in front of me like a deadly intruder.
It doesn't take much to remind me of Patrick. A dark stubble on the face of a passing young man. A black beanie being worn by an athletic looking guy. Cute shot glasses in HomeGoods that reminds me of that night at the Long Beach comedy club when he was laughing so loud, in the seat next to me.
How many visual images can remind you of one of your kids? You'd be surprised. I'm learning that when you're missing your child so much it physically hurts, there are literally a hundred different moments during your day that can trigger a mother's memory of them.
If you happen to be going through a rough time emotionally, what I hope you realize is that there are things you can do that can help you. Megan Devine talks about this idea of wellness vs worseness, and how important it is for us to recognize when we're making things worse for ourselves with our thoughts. She calls it mentally tormenting ourselves, with those repeated mind-loops where we play things back in our head and wonder what we could have done differently.
Besides meditation, which I do daily, one of the most nourishing things on my wellness list is being creative. Whether it's my DIY projects, or writing or painting. Recently I've found it soothing to put some Christmas decorations up around the house. And I know a lot of bereaved mothers can't decorate for the holidays and I totally understand. But if you're someone who enjoys being creative, you can probably relate to the sense of being happily transported for a bit by one of your projects. The pain is still there, but I notice the tiniest sense of peace that comes from creating beauty in whatever form.
You know how bloggers often have a theme for their Christmas décor?
This year I started with the question, "What's the opposite of Merry and Bright?" And I decided that Breathing and Grateful was the idea that kept me moving.
So a big welcome to you. I hope you enjoy looking around. Oh-and something I just learned, if you're viewing these photos from your phone, for a clearer view you can click on each photo.
Sending you the blessings of love and faith and hope this Christmas and beyond. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. I only hope you realize how precious and loved you truly are.
I'm sharing this post with friends:
Home and Garden Thursday