May 15, 2010.
I hadn't thought too much about the date until I picked a date between Jacob and Sydney's birthdays to have a party, and when it occurred to me the date it fell on, my heart fell right along with it. It's hard enough celebrating my kids' birthdays without Matt, let alone on the day that marks a year and a half since his death.
I thought I could do it. I was feeling strong and positive leading up to the second week in May. However, the toll of the recent drama with Cameron (times two) - not to mention all the stuff that's happened that I haven't posted about (which usually is a lot), two sick kids, putting the plans for my business in motion, burning the candle (I can get SO much more accomplished when the kids are asleep at night), all completely ran me down mentally, emotionally, and physically. Ended up with a sinus infection on top of it. I postponed the party until the following weekend.
In my usual style (you'd think I'd recognize the pattern by now), I get raging angry before I can cry. I've gotten so good at stifling my emotions, faking my own self out in the meantime, that I don't quite recognize when it's building up. Or maybe I do and I just try to ignore it... Between all the above, Jacob's birthday, the approaching Mother's Day that I almost successfully forgot about, and having to plan a party, I was a ticking time bomb.
I got through Mother's Day like a champ in my opinion. Everyone keeps telling me I need to do more for myself, so the day before, I hired a babysitter and finally got my hair cut after about eight months. Since I still had some time before I had to come home, I also got a manicure and a pedicure. I was feeling pampered and pretty (all dressed up and no where to go, as they say). All prepared for Mother's Day. My kids even drew some sweet Happy Mother's Day pictures for me with the babysitter (thank you, Celia!).
Jacob came into my room the next morning and hopped into my bed and wished me an enthusiastic, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!!!" How sweet of him to remember! Then, my brother's wife had made appointments for her and I to get a half hour massage while my brother watched all the kids (bless his soul). I was really looking forward to a little more human touch, even if I had to pay for it (boy that sounds terrible). However, we got there late, so my half hour was more like 20 minutes. Afterward, my sister-in-law and I went shopping, so I got to do some retail therapy - found some really great clothes that in reality I'll hardly get a chance to wear, plus I feel guilty about what I spent. But they're SO pretty... What the hell - I'll wear them while I'm picking weeds.
Thinking I was able to stave off negative emotions, it all sneaked up only to blindside me the next day. Monday morning was the start of yet another week of failed morning routines that give a lousy start to the day. After the past few weeks of consecutively shitty mornings, I totally lost it when both kids were melting down on me at the same time. I lost it on the kids - yelled, screamed, whipped Jacob's bagel clear across the kitchen, then ran into my bedroom bawling (loudly). My poor kids. I still had to get Jacob to school, so I managed to get them into the van, brought Jacob to school, and cried the entire time. In front of everyone.
What's so strange and frustrating is that as I'm going through those peak moments of uncontrolled rage, sadness, insanity, I can see myself objectively as if an observer, but yet I don't have the ability to control myself.
Thank God for some of the moms I'm friends with who, once again, came through for me. After school, the kids and I went to a play date at my friend Claire's house, and though I cried most of the time we were there, I smiled and laughed a bit, too. They probably think I'm certifiable (hell - I probably am), but they still seem to like me!
So a year and a half later, here I am. There are times I feel like I'm getting a handle on grief and this new life I've been forced into, and a lot of times when I'm still completely lost, just trying to function to meet our basic needs. I'm still in disbelief a lot of the time, though. When I read the words, think them in my head, hear my kids say them, etc., I'm struck with the reality all over again somehow (yet I can turn off the connection between brain and heart when I say them to someone else). When I see his clothes in my closet, or his shoes on the floor (even in my new home), I have to stop and think to remind myself that he's not coming back. I could take his clothes off the hangers, and it wouldn't make a difference. He's not going to wear them again. Sometimes I have to remind myself, sometimes it just hits me. All over again.
What's odd, too, is the past couple of weeks, my life has been flashing before my eyes. Lots of little details. My life with Matt, and just about every moment since. Not so much the stuff that happened before he came into my life, though. It's almost like I have a hard time remembering what my life was like before he entered it. I think after he was in it, I didn't really want or need to remember what it was like before.
Saturday, May 15, 2010 came and went. No party, nothing significant. In fact, the whole morning passed before I remembered the significance of the day (as embarrassing as that is to admit out loud). I felt Matt so close to me that whole day. It wasn't until after I tried to think about what was so special about the date to figure out why he was with me so strongly that I actually remembered. A year and a half, to the day. He made the day easier (or harder?) by being at the forefront of my mind and heart, like he was standing with me the whole time. Thank you, My Love.
I think a small part of me is probably holding onto the pain, as if it keeps him closer. Like, if I let go of the pain, I'm letting go of him. I know that's not true, but I think that's a small part of why I hurt. A very small part. Funny how I can think of this shit so objectively, yet it doesn't change it. I guess understanding is something, anyway.
If there's anyone out there who thinks that I should be "over it" by now, I'll have you know, it ain't happening and I have doubts that it ever will. I'm still learning to push through, one challenging moment at a time.