Its not hard. It's impossible. It isn't even a thing. Just when you think you might not be over IT (that thing, event, person, situation, whatever you are trying/wishing/hoping to move on FROM), but can actually get through a small period of time without IT overwhelming you, taking your breath away and forcing you to relive the moments (painful and joyful alike) that surround IT, that's when IT sneaks back out in all it's glory and let's you know it's still there...
What's your IT?
for me and my family, we all feel IT to some extent especially on Thanksgiving because that's when IT happened: we lost dad and grandpa only days apart. It was 11 years ago but it may as well have been yesterday. Their presence is missed on holidays, but Thanksgiving is the hardest.
Sometimes you don't even realize IT has taken over... you feel lethargic, grumpy, irritable, off but can't figure out why. Today it was my 5 year old that reminded me of the other IT that makes me hate holidays...
I was arguing with Jake and told Amelia playfully "Don't ever have a brother!"
She stopped and looked at me. "Mom, I already have a brother, he's in heaven, remember?"
I stopped stirring whatever Thanksgiving dish I was creating at the time. My breath caught.
"Yah, baby, I remember."
And the memories hit me like a flood.
Our thanksgiving table feels so empty now.
Her bedroom feels like a dark void. It took so long for her to fall asleep... she hates being an only child. sleeping alone.
She was made to have siblings... 4 of them. But they didn't get to stay with us.She never even got to meet them. I didn't get to hold them.
So she tells me tonight (after the 4th "GO TO BED, CHILD!")
"I had a HORRIBLE Thanksgiving, Mom." Me, too, baby, I think as I tuck her into bed (again).
Maybe next year will be better, maybe not. Probably it will in many ways. Matthew will be employed again, Our health situations (probably) won't be scary and unpredictable. Amelia will be older and less defiant. I'll plan dinner better so we aren't eating 3 hours after we said we would be eating... But will the pain of loss be less? Will we have moved on from IT? Will the table feel less empty, the quiet less eerie? maybe. I don't know. I lost Dad 11 years ago but I still catch myself wanting to call him and tell him Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas. I still dream that I wake up back in my house in Colorado and he's there and all this has just been a long weird dream... But it doesn't consume my every waking hour. The tears don't come in waves anymore. The pain has settled in. Moved to a deep place in my soul. It's become familiar, like an old scar. It's part of me now.
So forgive me if I don't feel like celebrating this year. It's just a little harder right now. I'm weighed down by IT and all the worries of our current situation. There's too much hurt in the world. Too little love. Too little community and life and joy. But I don't feel like doing anything about it today. I don't feel like wrapping it up in a nice little bow for you, dear reader. I just want to crawl back into bed and fall asleep with the glimmer of hope that tomorrow will be better - not perfect, just manageable.
Tomorrow I might visit our new neighbor and make sure she's doing OK while her husband is deployed. I might call a friend just to say hi. I might encourage a mom on Facebook who feels scared and alone and doesn't know what to do next. I might do something to bring life, and light and joy, and hope into my world to outshine the darkness and the ITs. But not today. Today I grieve. Today I sit with the mourners. Today I sleep through the sharp ache in my heart that reminds me it is good to love and be loved no matter how long...