I go a little crazy every January. My judgement leaves me. I bounce checks, cyberstalk old boyfriends and high school crushes on Facebook. I cry in the shower. I eat only chocolate. I probably shouldn't drive.
I play my Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach CD over and over, marinating in the perfect melancholy captured in their collaboration. I crave physical contact. I follow my husband from room to room, wordlessly stalking him in search of the reasurance his presence brings. I don't think he knows this is what I am doing.
The rooms in my house are in various stages of Christmas undecoration. I wander from pile to pile, looking at the decorations and feeling at a complete loss at how to begin to pack them away. I am normally very organized, methodical, even, in this annual necessary, but, nonetheless depressing event. My husband, always patient with me, finally gave up and finished deflowering the artificial tree, packed it up, and took it down to the basement today himself. It is the latest I have ever left up my Christmas tree.
I itch to purge my home of everything unnecessary, to fill boxes for delivery to my church's outgrown sale. In my mind I am busily working my way through closets and drawers, feeling lighter with each item I happily toss into box after overflowing box. I don't do any of this. I sit, staring into space for seemingly hours. My leaden limbs are heavy, rendering me inert. My body aches with the the smallest of efforts. I tire easily. This is my life, for now, as I exist on the edge of the shitstorm of grief that is inexorably bearing down upon my coordinates here on the sofa.
I am easily overwhelmed. I sigh. A lot. I have not decided if they are the sounds of defeat or surrender. These sighs are big--comparable to the sound emitted by a 15 year old girl whom, as she sighs, blows the bangs out of her face. She sighs, with accompanying eye roll, at the suggestion from her mother that she pull her bangs out of her face. I have not heard these sighs for 12 years. Why they arrive this year, I don't know. Do they always come to visit me in January and I just don't remember? They are the sighs of inevitability, in preparation for the annual asswhoopin' I know is to come.
My husband and I lost our 3 day old daughter on a dark January night 12 years ago. She never saw the pretty room we made for her. I never rocked her to sleep.
In the years since, I've learned to push aside the grief, to work through it, to function with it and in spite of it. Most days I succeed. But, every January it returns and WILL NOT be denied it's due. It rears it's ugly head and makes a beeline for my heart. It sits on my chest, pinning me to the couch for weeks. It cuts my phone lines. It flushes my libido down the pooper. It averts my eyes and erases my smile. It will not relent until it deems me sufficiently isolated and demoralized.
Do not despair, Readers Dear. This is only a temporary state of being. I am certain I will emerge into the blue sky waiting on the other side of this, I always do. I face the upcoming days and weeks knowing that though they will be difficult, they are nothing compared to what I've already lived through.
There is unshakable peace in knowing I have already survived the worst day of my life.