No matter how often I tell myself to expect to come down after a period of good days, it always shocks me that I can still feel so miserable. After the baby shower I hosted recently, the whole house was clean, we were eating dinner at the kitchen table every night, and I was doing really well. Of course, it didn’t last.
I know it’s logical and normal and expected that I’ll have a hard time for months, years to come. But on some level I keep hoping that when I feel good, it’s because I’ve made great progress toward healing and things will keep getting better. Overall, yes, I do think I’m making progress and I feel much better than I did four months ago – but how foolish of me to hope there wouldn’t be any more pain.
I hate seeing babies. I don’t hate babies – I just can’t stand the anguish of having buried my baby. Of not only knowing but of feeling, over and over again, that I’ll never hold Christian or watch him grow up or send him to his room for being naughty. He’s missing from my life and it’s a huge, gaping hole. I hate how severely grief hurts. Before all of this, “grief” was just a word. Now it’s almost tangible.
On good days I barely remember what this despair is like. When it comes back, though, I wonder how I’ll ever get back to normal.
I am slowly, slowly starting to feel more like myself again. And it surprises me – mostly because I hadn’t realized how much I’ve changed. I don’t know whether I started feeling well enough to get things done, or whether I started feeling better because I was getting things done. It was probably a combination of the two. But I cleaned; I made a menu and a shopping list and went to the grocery store; I cooked dinner; I threw a baby shower (bad idea); and I remembered that I used to feel a certain way. A way that I seldom feel lately.
If you have glasses or contacts, think of how the world looks without them on. It’s like I had been seeing everything blurry, but without realizing it was blurry. And when I finally could see again, it was refreshing and exhilarating and joyful. (I have terrible vision, so this analogy works well for me.) Last week we were sitting eating dinner at the kitchen table (for the first time in months!) and it occurred to me that we used to be like this – I used to feel like life was moving forward. Even if one day was awfully similar to the next, things still happened. For the past few months everything has been paused and suspended. Time passed, but life was stuck. I was stuck.
I’m sure I’ll have more days where I feel stuck. Although it’s hard for me to accept, I know the ups and downs will be with me for a while, so I don’t delude myself that this period of good feelings is permanent. But it gives me hope. I love finding out that even with all that’s happened, I’m still me. Because you know what? I like me.