I remember wondering in those first days and weeks after we lost Everlee if I would ever make it through a day without crying ever again. I don’t remember when it happened, I’m sure it wasn’t a particularly momentous day. But it happened none the less. I still cry more days than I don’t. I usually cry quietly to myself in the darkness of night now. But, usually, I can muster the strength to make it through the daylight hours without letting my heart leak onto my face. I have always hated showing any outward sign of weakness. That part of me soldiers on. Funny, when you consider how I’ve chosen to make some of my most personal and vulnerable thoughts so public here.
These last three days, I have had reminiscent feelings of those first few weeks. The anxiety has returned tenfold. If you’re having a bad day today, consider this: I threw up in the shower this morning. Note to self: don’t eat breakfast for the next few days, and hope that this wave of intensity passes. A little perspective. And as I picked up my coffee at Starbucks and headed onto the onramp to the highway toward my office for the second time this week it started. The tightness in my chest, that hot burning feeling at the back of my eye balls, the topsy-turvy feeling in my tummy, the dryness in my throat. And then came the tears.
And I wondered aloud (as I often do have very meaningful discussion with myself out loud when driving alone) “will I ever be able to drive to work without bursting into tears? Will I ever make it through a day at work without having to go lock myself in the bathroom to cry?”. As a wise man once taught me (thank you for *everything* but especially this Mr. Duffenais) Tomorrow is a better day. Hopefully some day in the not so distant future, on some not particularly momentous day, I’ll make into work dry-eyed. And hopefully some day soon people won’t pass my open office door and wonder if they should pop their head in to say hello. And hopefully some day soon I won’t have to work myself up for 45 minutes to be able to walk to the cafeteria to get a yogurt for my break. And hopefully someday soon I won’t have to think about all of these things so intently.
This grief thing is never ending. Time diminishes the intensity of it, or maybe, time diminishes the frequency of intense periods. Because when the waves crest, the intensity of the anger, resentment, guilt, and sadness is raw and painful like that of the first weeks after it happened. Acute, deep, and fierce.
There are times when, out of the blue, the tears well up and my face turns hot. Maybe there was a trigger – a new baby born, seeing a Facebook post about how someone else is pregnant and not me, or catching the faint smell of new furniture still wafting from her closed bedroom door. Maybe it was nothing at all, Just sudden, inundating sadness. But it’s always there. Picking at my soul. Always on the periphery of my mind. Always something missing. That is how the rest of my life will be. I believe someday the grief won’t be as intense. But it will be always present in my life. It’s my new normal.