The days or weeks leading up to the 13th are always harder than the day itself. I never have figured out why. I found myself consistently choked up, in fear or worry and just depressed for weeks before.
It was getting bad enough I was not sleeping because every time I would close my eyes I would envision her body. Then it would turn into Trackers lifeless body.
I was having sever anxiety and nothing seemed to help.
This time of year sucks. There is no other way to describe it. It sucks. It takes every ounce of my energy to just function. To be a Mom in what feels like the bare minimum. He is fed, he is cared for and he is safe. but as for being anything extra- this time of year- Its proven once again to not happen.
This year has been really hard. Since her birthday I have been having more days than not where I find myself in a corner looking at pictures or smelling her clothes or begging God to help me remember just something else about her. My birthday could nearly have been once of the worst days in months or even years. Social media was flooded with pictures of their kids going to school on their first day. and this year it was so clear what a huge milestone she missed and will never have.
Why has year 5 been so hard?
I can't explain it because I don't get it.
As December 13th got closer and closer my depression shifted from not only missing her but overwhelming fears of what could happen to Tracker.
It got worse and worse and I didn't know how to stop it. Trying to figure out how I could control everything in his path. Today, tomorrow and the rest of his life. Trying to devise a plan to keep him safe. To keep him happy. To make sure he outlives us. I have some serious control issues and they just spiked times a billion the few weeks before the 13th. I tried everything to push these thoughts out of my mind but nothing worked. They would creep in there at every turn. It was numbing. It was exhausting. The images of her lifeless body in my arms were everywhere. Her casket.
Death. Was. Everywhere.
Once the 13th came...
It was hard. It didn't help that much of the day was so similar to that day 5 years ago. The weather and some of the smells... Songs that we heard on the radio...
It didn't help we attended our nieces dance performance which was filled with little girls who are around her age. It didn't help that its just that day.
but I held it together most of the day. The moments Ryan and I were alone was my time to be vulnerable and I took full advantage.
As much as the day hurt. It was busy like it is every year.
We did our best to celebrate her life and not mourn her death.
and just like that after the 13th. Those overwhelming fears. Those thoughts. Those horrific nightmares seemed fade. Its frustrating. I don't know what this cycle is. Its getting worse each year and I don't know how to change it. After the 13th it seems like life can for the most part go back to normal. There is still fear. There is still the missing and aching and wanting her. but the constant loom of death isn't there anymore. I can breathe.
That day 5 years ago I never imagined being able to breathe without her, let alone be happy.
Now here we are. 5 years down this road and we are not only alive but we have found happiness.
If I could talk to myself 5 years ago there is so much I want to tell her.
First- accept and embrace every single emotion and feeling you have. DON'T let anyone make you feel you should do anything other than what you are doing. To the people who have classless comments and know nothing about grief- smile at them and turn away and never speak to them again. You will save yourself a lot of paint.
Second- Not everyone can handle being around you. Stop forcing it. For some reason friends and even family can't find a way to feel comfortable around you. Don't take it personally.
Third- Have some compassion on yourself. Your daughter died. She was sick and you had to bury her. Your only child. and now you are not only forced to carry this burden but you have to change your entire outlook on how you want other children to come into your life. This is a big deal and its hard. Its okay if you feel sorry for yourself.
Fourth- There will be light. There will be smiles and laughing and happiness. Hold on because you have no idea how much joy life can bring.
Fifth- You are not alone and there are other people who understand this. Hold onto those people.
This road is far from over. its really just begun.