Happy New Year folks. What a concept that is right? A new year, starting over, beginning a new chapter in your life. How liberating that is, the feeling of starting over. I didn’t realize any of this until this year, now that I will never feel that again. I would love so much to shut the door on this pain, to leave it behind in 2016 and begin 2017 with no sadness, no pain, just peace in my mind and heart. But I don’t know that I will ever feel that again, that feeling of starting fresh, leaving things in the “old” year. But would I want to? Would it mean I don’t miss her every second of every day? Would it mean I’m over it? Would it mean I’ve moved on?
2016 has been the worst and best year of my life. It brought my beautiful baby girl, the happiest child I’ve ever known. It made my oldest daughter, Isabel, a big sister, a role she could not be happier to fill. It made my husband a father to an infant, which is something he had never experienced before, as Isabel was already turning two when we started dating. It made me a momma all over again, getting to do all of the fun (and not so fun) baby stuff again. It made me appreciate sleep. It made me appreciate silence and sound, the calm and the chaos that is life with children. It made me learn to slow down, to forgive myself daily for not always knowing what to do, to promise to be better the next day.
It also brought extreme sadness. Earth shattering, soul crushing, I can’t do this anymore sadness. The kind that steals your breath from you in the middle of the day when you’re folding laundry on your living room couch. The kind that steals the strength from your legs, making it impossible to hold yourself upright, so your knees buckle under the weight of it, and you use the kitchen counter for support. The kind of sadness that can only come from watching your child in pain and not being able to fix it, the kind that can only come from understanding completely the pain they are in, and so you just cry with her. The kind of sadness that comes out of no where, out of the blue, full force, bringing tears to your eyes in an instant. The kind that comes when the Christmas song she liked most comes on the radio and I can see her in my head, singing. The kind that only comes when you love someone more than yourself. The kind that is making me cry now as I write this.
It has brought a new found relationship between my father and me. Where we once spoke weekly as best, and often communicated through my mother, we now talk at least once a day. As siblings, the three of us are closer, sometimes communicating through our group text, sharing articles on grief, or random things that happen to us that remind us of mom. It has made me appreciate family more, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, for their constant support and the occasional, “how are you today?” text. It has made me thankful for happy moments in our lives, for laughter and for the times we are all together and smiling. It has brought our family not one, but two babies this year, as my brother and sister in law had their fifth (yes, fifth) child almost one month ago. It has brought beautiful, bitter sweet memories that we can file away for years to come, to look back on when remembering the “first year.”
It has been eight months since she’s died and it feels like an eternity and a second at the same time. I feel like I have aged thirty years in the last eight months, the wrinkles on my face and the grey hairs on my head have multiplied, I swear. I am markedly different. I am not the same person I was Before, and I don’t know if I will ever be Her again. I wonder if people ever get back to their “Before” selves, or do you just live the rest of your life as an “After,” looking back fondly or bitterly at times, to the life you had before the loss?
Here’s to hoping.
Until next time…