It was in the fall, just a few days before Thanksgiving that we lost you. You were our hope and joy for the few months we anticipated your arrival into our lives before our hearts were unexpectedly crushed from losing you. Loss had no place in the joy and love we already felt for you. You filled up our lives before they suddenly felt so empty.
In the fall of that year, as the leaves fell from the barren trees, my sorrow fell too into empty spaces without comfort or reprieve.
Then Christmas came. And I was facing once again the loss of family. The pain too crushing, I could not breathe. I remember standing in my bedroom, looking at myself in the mirror. The reflection of heartache and loss left me unrecognizable; a heart filled with love, while loss just kept pressing into every crevice of my soul.
It was in winter, when I was just a little girl, in January during a snow storm that my father died suddenly.
And it was in winter, when I was still so young, in the cold bitterness of January that my firstborn son was born and died without any warning.
I woke up yesterday morning crying with endless tears rolling down my face. I realized for the first time that maybe, just maybe, on some unconscious level that all of this added together may be why the holidays are so unbearable for me and I can’t seem to overcome it. I realized that cumulatively these may be why I have not ever been able to come back to celebrating no matter how hard I have tried for so many years.
It doesn’t mean that I am not grateful. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel loved and accepted and connected. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel joy. It means that I just don’t know how to anymore.
I don’t know how to catch all the sorrow as it falls. And so then it leads to panic and anxiety. I spiral as I fight my emotions because I don’t want to cry. But then I feel like a pressure cooker ready to explode inside as my heart races.
I then begin to fear losing, losing what little I do have. Bracing myself for the blow. Because loss, it always came as a surprise without regard for the heartache or loss that had already come before it.
With all these losses of my past around the holidays, and then add depression and anxiety into the mix, no wonder the holidays have been so terribly unbearable year after year. I have sat with the heartache until numbness sets in, but never put it all together like this before. I feel sad for all the pressure that sits inside of me because I can never find the joy or meaning that is expected at this time of the year. I have just been terribly sad and hard on myself for it.
It seems sorrow finds its way into those special times even when we ignore our pain or are unaware of why it shows up at all.
Fighting sorrow seems to be a lot like fighting gravity… no matter how hard you fight against it, it always pushes you down.