We used to nickname her pumpkin when she was younger

Monday, November 7, 2011

What was that sound?

I remember the first time I laughed after Alysia passed away, the sound of my laughter startled me.  Did that come from me?  It seemed so far away from where my head and heart was that it belonged to someone else.  It was the strangest sensation.  For weeks that was how my laughter felt. At first I couldn't comprehend how one iota of me could find humor in anything and yet here was my body laughing at something.  How bizarre that is when you feel so disconnected from your body.

Over time when I would laugh or even have a good moment it no longer startled me, the disconnect was beginning to reconnect.  My mind and heart were also feeling the laughter and the good moment but then I would feel tremendous guilt.  What right did I have to laugh or have a good moment when Alysia could no longer feel those moments?  What right did I have to have a brief moment of happiness when I lost my only child?  What sort of twisted mother would ever find happiness under these circumstances?  Did I not have a heart?  Am I that cold that I could find a good moment, a good thought, a good feeling within these circumstances? Oh my God, did that good moment mean I am forgetting about her? Or I am squashing the grieving out of selfishness to wanting to be happy? Then the heaviness would set in, the mourning, the fear and the tears would come back.

After a while I would equate happiness with heaviness.  After going back and forth from happiness to guilt to sadness, eventually the feeling of happiness automatically came with sadness and guilt.  There was no processing between the two. So when a good moment was happening I would constantly feel a cloud of heaviness on my heart and a feeling of fear that I was forgetting Alysia and a feeling of guilt because I didn't deserve to be happy since the worst possible thing was happening to me and the family.

As I write this blog, I am having a strong moment, in fact I have had a fairly strong week and I write what follows knowing full well I could slip back at anytime.  They say time heals all wounds, and they also say that grief is a wound that people don't want to heal because it is the grieving person's way of feeling connected to their loved one who passed away.  So how does one balance this constant tug of war on the wound? The healing that automatically happens with time, the healing done divinely on it's own.  Just as a physical wound heals without our conscious thought so does a grieving wound, unless of course we keep reopening that wound because we are afraid to see it heal. Unless we keep reopening the wound with our conscious thought.

Once at dusk I was feeling that sadness creep up on me and quite frankly I was sick of it but knew I had to let it run it's course like I do everyday this happens to me but a little voice in my heart said to me "You have a choice, you can choose to let this carve a path in your psyche that every dusk is a scary time or you can choose happiness." Ha! Easier said then done...BUT I vowed to at least try, to at least trust that little voice and so I began changing behavior patterns...replacing some mourning rituals I developed with new behaviors.  It doesn't always work.

However, this past week I've felt a shift.  I hear myself laugh and it feels like it's coming from me! Oh and what's this? I am feeling happiness without the heavy guilt and sadness? I am beginning to feel more like me again. Again, I stress this is a good week, next week who knows? It doesn't matter right now because right now I am feeling happiness, I am actually looking to the future with hope.  Grieving is not linear, it's back and forth, up and down, inside out, outside in, it's forward in time and backward in time.  Each of those moments are real.

It is a relief to know that I can feel happy and feel hope without forgetting Alysia.  I still cried this past week but they weren't those heavy despair tears.  I still miss Alysia but that feeling isn't accompanied with wanting to not go on.  Somehow the swinging of the emotional pendulum is coming to a middle point where I can be happy and hopeful and still be connected to Alysia.

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