The roller coaster of grieving has so far taken me on a very unbalanced ride. January and February days were filled with an ever changing range of emotions. Many days were sad, many were numb. Some were angry and some unbearable. Then March came with something new. A new emotion that I have not had to face quite so fiercely…..depression. Honestly, it has taken me a long time to write about it, because it has taken me a while to even articulate what has happened. It has been such a gradual onset that I haven’t even been aware of what was happening.
I have had the emotional bad days before, but never like this. Every morning I just wanted to stay in bed all day. I didn’t though. I got up, got the kids ready, and did all the things I normally would do. But I gradually felt myself pull away from almost all situations where I would have to talk to people. I just didn’t feel like seeing or talking with anyone. I felt so much more tired than normal. All day I longed for a nap. It was the longing that I had when I was pregnant with my girls and my body just couldn’t function without getting more sleep. Every time I walked by my bed, it called for me to just lie down. Lie down and sleep the day away. I have been really struggling with missing Emilie. I miss her so, so much. I feel like my heart is drowning in an open ocean, without any rest, without any help. Nothing seems to make it feel better. Nothing seems to take it away.
I lie down on the couch and curl my legs up, feeling an empty space. My legs. That used to be Emilie’s spot. When we would watch movies together, Madeline and Samantha would always fight about lying next to me. One would always end up in front and one would lay behind me. Emilie, who was never interested in fighting with them, use to grab my legs and curl them around her at the end of the couch. Now I have these moments where I see her there, for just a moment, and then she is gone. This same thing happens to me hundreds of times a day. I see her in the room doing what she would have been doing if she was there and then she is gone. And my heart keeps gasping for air. I keep praying that somehow this is all a mistake and that I will somehow wake up from this nightmare. But I know I won’t and I know she is gone.
I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. I was lying down on the couch and Samantha asked me to help her put together a puzzle. Inside I knew I didn’t have it in me. I knew I couldn’t do it. And in that moment, something slapped me across the face. I realized that I was truly falling. My path was officially headed in a very dangerous direction that I needed to acknowledge. That moment was pretty powerful. I spent the rest of the day looking at my behavior and feeling shocked that I didn’t see my symptoms before. Since Emilie died, my focus has been on my family. Are my kids alright, is my marriage alright? I have now determined the way I can help the ones I love the most is by helping myself. If I am doing well, I can be there for my family. If I neglect myself, my family will be neglected. Understanding the path of depression I was headed on has helped me wake up and refocus on what I am doing for myself. Am I eating right? Am I exercising enough? Am I getting enough of what I need to keep my mind and body healthy? Grieving is like walking a tight rope sometimes and it is so easy to fall. But my family is worth fighting for. They are worth it. And so am I.