I have troubles this time of the year. Chest pains, anxiety, irritability, sadness…I squabble with Bryan over the “littlest, stupidest things”…sometimes I recognize it for what it is and sometimes it sneaks up on me. I have to tell myself to calm down…take deep, slow breaths…it will be ok…you can get through this… again.
Our Anniversary is February 26th and this year we have been married 33 years. That is a really long time…maybe even more than the average marriage lasts. Marriage is in itself a challenge to communicate, live with, understand, compromise with another person…daily…even hourly. It takes constant work and evaluation to keep things going and on an even keel. Add to that the additional stress of losing a child. We process things differently, grieve differently than each other. Bryan grieves deeply but tends to keeps things in and I tend it let it out…it usually shows up physically for me. I have read that 16%-75% of couples get divorced after losing a child…not sure what is correct number but none of them are good and add to that the average divorce rate of 45%. So yes, we struggle but we have beaten the odds. I have good memories of past anniversaries…I’m so happy we have made it this far…I deserve to be joyous about this day in our lives…to be proud of “us”.
February 27th is Taylor’s birthday. I went into the hospital on the morning of our seven-year anniversary to have him. I had the “7 year itch” alright…the itch to get him out. But he wanted his “own day”…. soooooo he made his grand entrance the next evening. He has turned into a fine young man…he isn’t perfect, no one is…but a good man we can be proud of. He turned 26 this year, he is in college…again, lol…for a drafting degree this time. He helps his grandparents with any “electronic problems” they have, cares for his 2 dogs, votes, is up to date on world issues and can carry on an intelligent conversation about it, loves watching the History and National Geographic Channels and learning new things, he opens the door for his girlfriend…I could go on about the good qualities he has. It is a joyous day…his birthday…and I deserve to be happy for and proud of him.
March 7th…the worst day of my life. A day I would give anything…I mean anything…for it not to be…not to have happened…to not lose our first born…our only daughter. It has been six years and it seems like yesterday…the pain is a little less raw but still gut-renching, heart-breaking, lonely, sad, body–aching, nightmare-ish and a joyless day. I struggle to get out of bed…not cry all day…to breathe…to make the chest pains go away. I struggle to focus on her “goodness and joy of life” attitude and not the loss of her precious life. I try to honor her life by eating one of her favorite foods…spaghetti this year…by playing games she liked…Farkle or Sequence…by doing random acts of kindness…taking animal food and toys to a local shelter…to try to see the goodness and beauty in the world God has created…to feel the wind, see the sun, smell the flowers…for her. I was glad to be with Taylor this year…our physical family of three… but missing our fourth.
So I’m a big mess during these 10 days. I have 2 happy, joyful events and dates… but I know the worst date of my life is right behind those…lurking, with chest pains and sadness, stealing my Joy from those days. I got through it… yet again… breath… deeply, slowly… breath…