How Am I Feeling?

How am I feeling?

I don’t know. I have had a few people ask, knowing that the first anniversary of my mom’s death is coming up on the 28th, and that this time last year I was unknowingly on the precipice of my world being thrown into chaos. I’m very conscious of the days ticking away and coming closer to the 21st, when I got the call that my mom was in the hospital and had coded. If I am being honest, I check the calendar every day and think about this time last year. How could I not? I was so full of anticipation last year for Christmas. I had grand plans. I was going to bake cookies with my daughter on Christmas Eve. We were going to have omelets Christmas morning and revel in our daughter opening gifts.

The world went to hell on the 21st and I lived in a haze of DNR paperwork, hospice conversations and horrible hospital coffee for the next week.  My holiday sucked. At the time I was pretty numb and was trying to find some good (“well, Nellie was adorable opening presents” was about all I could find) but looking back on it, it fucking sucked. It was the second Christmas in my life that was utterly terrible, the first being when we lost our first baby to miscarriage three days before Christmas.

It seems that three is the magic number for awful things happening in our family around Christmas; miscarriage three days before one year, the death of my mother three days after another.

I feel strange writing this considering everything that happened in Connecticut last week. I feel almost like I do not have the right to reflect and feel my conflicted feelings about my personal anniversary coming up. After all, I have my daughter. I did not have to rush to her school in a panic while wondering whether she survived a mass shooting. I tucked her in at night the evening of the 14th as I do each night.

As much as I feel conflicted about sharing my thoughts and feelings about this first anniversary, I also feel like I haven’t really processed or felt much about it and writing is my outlet. It’s how I cope, and how I deal with my feelings and thoughts sometimes.

So, how am I feeling?

I don’t know. I don’t think that I feel sad. I guess maybe I feel reflective? When I talk to people about this time last year I find myself feeling kind of fragile, like talking about it will make me relive the trauma and I will break into a thousand little pieces. I suspect that maybe my anxiety and feelings about it are manifesting in other ways; bad dreams, short temper at times, overeating.

I am feeling very enthusiastic about this Christmas despite everything. There is a pile of presents under the tree, I’ve already gotten my gift from my husband (a brand new laptop that is 100% MINE and mine alone – I know, right?) and absolutely cannot wait for my girl stumble out of bed with her wild, unruly hair and Christmas footie pajamas and tear into those presents with the wild abandon only a child at Christmas can have.

Right now I am feeling okay. Come the 21st I may sing a different tune, but tonight – right now, I am okay.

Christmas Anxiety

 

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now the Christmas season is officially in full swing. I have mixed feelings about this time of year. I am looking forward to seeing my daughter experience the holidays, and I can’t wait until Christmas morning to see her open her presents. She sort of understood Christmas last year, but this year she is excited. She loves our Christmas tree and even picked out her very own ornament to hang on a branch. It’s a Barbie in a hideous pink dress, and she will kneel down in front of it and gaze at it lovingly, whispering sweet nothings into its plastic ears.

I am excited for Christmas, and I am also dreading the sad milestones that Christmas brings. Today marked what I guess is the first milestone; today would have been my mother’s 61st birthday. It also marks 1 year since I saw my mom for the last time before she went into the hospital. The visit was strange. In hindsight I understand a little better. At the time I thought she was just on heavy pain pills (which she may have been) but I realize now just how sick she was. On her birthday last year, she had little less than a month to live.

I think that I’ve been dealing with the anxiety I’m feeling over the anniversary of her death in subtle, almost subconscious ways. I’ve been feeling very self-conscious and sensitive and also easily annoyed. I have been feeling easily left out and just kind of glum on and off. It’s been a while since I’ve felt much of anything regarding my mom’s death, so it was hard to recognize the source of these feelings at first.

I guess I just need to take the good with the bad and accept my emotions and feelings as they come.