I hate when I get in these moods.
After our last miscarriage, as most people who know me (or have read my blogs) know, I saw a grief therapist for a little while, mainly because I wanted to know that the way I deal with loss is healthy. Little did I know how important that would be in the years right up ahead. While I have never dealt with depression as a disease, I do find myself in through valleys of depressive moods from time to time. As she aptly explained not too long ago, I deal with intense sadness, because I have endured intensely sad circumstances. It’s strange what can bring these periods on – sickness, bad weather, stress, difficult dates on the calendar, anything really. But when I feel these moods creeping up it’s like a water rising around my ankles. I always have two options, close my eyes and float on, or gasp like a guppy. My therapist told me to be so self-aware and to be able to acknowledge such moods is a very good thing.
This latest bout has been the culmination of several things – mainly the ending of summer and the cool dampness of fall (I am so not one of those basic white girls who love PSLs and flannel… don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy fall, but I am a summer girl at heart). Fall, this year ushers in more sadness than ever. Last year, it was full of firsts. Mira’s first festival. Her first Halloween. But also, it was full of lasts, like her last Sunday at church. We got her ready not knowing that morning when I put her in the little fall dress we were headed to the ER, and we’d never bring her home again. We spent Thanksgiving in the hospital cafeteria, just being thankful she was alive. She would die less than a week later. Fall, this year, is still full of firsts. Finley’s firsts all coincide with Mira’s – their birthdays are almost exactly a year apart, so there’s this strange sadness mixed in with the joys of his first Halloween and first Thanksgiving. Now that everyone has fully embraced the arrival of fall, there’s no avoiding the fact that the one year anniversary of her death is just ahead. This gloomy feeling, plus the intensity of school during the first nine weeks (September is a battle march of instruction, at least it is in my classroom), the hectic schedule of fall sports, and the arrival of winter germs, ugh… well, it’s too much. I can’t breathe this time of year for all the things choking me, demanding my full attention. I am already dealing with some something that feels curiously like strep throat.
Needless to say, it’s not even October yet, and I’m blue.
I’ve learned it’s not wise to fight it. If I don’t acknowledge it, if I pretend I’m not bitterly sad and plaster a smile on my face, it doesn’t help it to go away. Sadness demands to be felt. If I fake it, it’s like I’m fighting a rip-current. I become that gasping guppy. No, instead I have to ride it out. I have to float with it.
At the same time, though, I am filled with so much happiness every time I look into my son’s eyes. I catch myself laughing from time to time, overcome in a moment of worry-free joy. His growth and development baffles me, excites me, and terrifies me. Each new milestone is one Mira didn’t meet, and I constantly have to remind myself that his heart is whole. It’s different. I don’t have to live waiting for the sky to fall.
I am constantly in this mix of happiness and sadness, excitement and fear, joy and pain. And when someone casually asks, “how are you?” how in the world do I explain all this?
Perhaps I should just say I’m floating.