Tag Archives: grief

When Anniversaries Collide

My birthday was this week.  This week also marked the first anniversary of the crash that killed five cyclists and injured another four.  There were fundraisers, memorial rides, and a memorial service.  It was not an easy week.

I wasn’t ready for my birthday.  I wasn’t ready for it to be June.  I’m still settling into my new house*.  I just wasn’t ready for May to be over.  I needed a few more weeks of May.

But here we are, into the double-digits of June.

So it was my birthday.  And I was sad.  I purposefully didn’t open Facebook all day.  I was saving all of my birthday wishes until the evening.  I wanted a big burst of serotonin, not just dribs and drabs.

It helped, but I was still sad.  I was thinking of our friends who were about to mark the first anniversary of their grief.  And that made me remember how it felt the first year after Sofia died.

My birthday isn’t going to be the same for a while.  Like Sofia’s birthday, I know each year will become a bit easier, a bit less jarring.  But I suspect a year from now will be another hard week.  And probably the year after that as well.  Sorrow will be in Kalamazoo’s ether.  I’ll take some deep breaths.  I’ll do some yoga.  And I’ll cry.  And then I’ll stand up and take another step forward because life is not static, no matter how unready we are for it to be June.

*Oh, right.  I forgot to mention that I bought a house.  Surprised?  Me, too.  It wasn’t completely planned.  Then, knowing my rent would be going up again, I decided I should look.  I found a nice little house in my parents’ neighborhood.  And now I’m a homeowner!

P.S. I’m very proud of myself for not snapping at another parental unit when I picked Anna up last week.  Big sister was being overly affectionate to little sister.  You know the situation.  “I was just trying to give her a hug!”  Anna stopped and stared at the two of them.  Parental unit (I think it was grandma) looked at Anna and said, “Don’t you just hate how annoying big sisters can be?”  I had to bite my tongue.  All I wanted to do was to snap and say, “Her big sister is dead.”  But I didn’t.

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Holiday Parade

Today was the annual holiday parade.  We didn’t go last year because it was cold and Anna wasn’t going to remember it anyway.  We all went this year.  Anna, me, my dad, and my mom.

Now you have to understand that my mom doesn’t really do parades.  She likes the marching bands, but that’s about it.  So when I was growing up, my dad was always the one to take my brother and me to the parade* (or most parades for that matter).  And we discussed and debated about her coming.  Since the parade was always a special Daddy thing, we all kind of want it to be a special Anna-and-Gpa(-and-maybe-Mamma) thing, too.  But she still isn’t really going to remember this year, so we all, including my mom (who doesn’t really do parades but kind of wanted to see Anna at her first holiday parade), agreed that we all should go.

And it was cold, but not too cold.  And we found a sunny spot not to far from the beginning of the route.  Anna watched it intently.  She pointed out the snowmen, but other than that, it was hard to tell whether or not she was enjoying herself.  Until it was over.  When she didn’t want to leave.  She would have stayed sitting on the curb watching the cars go by if we’d told her they were part of the parade.

As for me?  It was unexpectedly cathartic.  When the WMU band marched by, playing their fight song, I started to cry.  I don’t know why that was my trigger.  It seemed like the entire city was out.  We were a community together.  Different colors, ages, faiths, all reveling in the same joy.

I cried a little on Wednesday.  Today I wept.

*Those things you learn when you’ve grown up.  When I was a kid, it was the Gilmore’s Holiday Parade.  My dad worked at Gilmore’s, and he worked the parade every year.  He wasn’t in it.  He worked at the staging area.  I don’t remember this.  At all.  I have vague recollections of going to the staging area once, but I think that was after the parade.  But my mom never took us to the parade.  It was something we did with my dad.  So, yeah, while waiting for the parade to start, my mom called my brother to see what he remembered about going to the parade when we were kids.  We think we figured it out.  Daddy and Matt left early and went to staging.  Mommy must have dropped me off a bit later.  But this still means my dad took at least one of us to work every year as part of taking us to the parade.

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It Gets Better, But It Doesn’t Always Feel That Way

Spoiler Alert:  This blog post discusses the most recent episode of The Good Wife, which in turn relates to some events from previous seasons.  If you’re not caught up, you might want to save this post until you are. 

At some point this afternoon, the weight descended on my chest.  I couldn’t figure out why, what had triggered it.  At least not at first.  The day had been relatively okay up until that point.  I’ve been doing yoga almost every day at work since December, and it really has helped me, well, breathe.  I’d done my yoga routine earlier, so it wasn’t because I’d decided to skip it.

I did figure it out.  When I was at the Alliance meeting back in January, there was this awesome session about making connections with other women in the field.  (We applauded the one man who came and stayed for the entire thing.)  Our table was having such a good time talking that our table moderator collected names and email addresses.  We’ve been sending introductory letters, personal and professional.  I wrote mine today.  And part of the personal side of things, of course, mentioned Sofia.  And the fact that Anna is going to be one in two weeks.  And then I couldn’t breathe anymore.  At least not easily.  Like I said, the weight descended on my chest, and I just felt sad.

The Good Wife continues to be one of my favorite shows.  This season has been rough for Alicia.  I can relate.  Grieving is not a straight line.  Now and then it comes back and smacks you in the face.  (And apparently, if you’re Alicia, makes you want to drink a pitcher of margaritas.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like a margarita.  But they aren’t my cocktail of choice.  I’m more of a martini-with-a-twist-not-an-olive girl.)  This week’s episode is on the whimsical side of things, except for one scene in particular, when Alicia finally breaks down.  When she finally tells Lucca that she’s scared, that she can’t breathe, that she just wishes it all would end.  And Lucca hugs her and then asks her if she has any guns in the house.

Lucca’s response is exactly right.  It’s what you want your friends to say.  But I understood what Alicia is saying.  I’ve said the same things.  How I just want it to stop.  How I don’t want to be here anymore.  But it wasn’t that I wanted to be dead.  I wanted to be where these feelings weren’t.  I wanted to be able to run away.  And that’s how I heard Alicia’s side of the dialogue.

When Will was killed, I said that if anyone was going to get grief right on TV, it was the Kings.  I think they’re still doing a pretty fine job of it.

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