Another birthday has now passed, and I can’t help but be struck by the enormous different in how I feel from last year to this one. It’s as vast as an ocean. Everyone always said that this grief I feel would get better, more manageable as time went on. And it has. That I’ve journeyed from the pits of despair to where I am now is – mind boggling to me.
I’d like to share something I wrote just before my birthday. It shows what a difference it is in where I was then, and where I am now:
May 10, 2013
Driving home tonight, I felt so lonely. Such a terrible loneliness.
Just a year ago at this time, I sat on my friend’s balcony at a party, and sobbed uncontrollably. For the previous two months, I had become so desperate, depressed and in pain. I remember my bed felt like it was tipping to one side, and I had to hang on, bracing myself against it to keep from being folded up into it; swallowed completely. Hanging on, and hanging on. Never to leave bed again (and that’s what it is to roll in pain).
Desperate. I slept at my friend’s house that night, crawling out early in the morning to disappear into my life again.
And I remember thinking at that time, particularly, that this was what my lot in life was going to be, and that I was always going to be alone . . . (yeah, I guess I had come into the period where I must have felt really alone). And a couple weeks after my friend’s party I finally, suddenly, came to determine that – yeah, I’m hurting, and yeah, I’ll probably be alone for the rest of my life – and that would be okay. In fact – it might be preferable when you think about it. It was then that I started to find some strength to raise myself up again, and meet a new day. And I did. I picked myself up and started to plan my birthday barbeque (the one I blogged about last year where things started to change for me)!
And it was also then that I met a man. A man that would challenge me to feel again, connect, open up to, and dare to risk my heart with.
And at this moment, I feel so incredible vulnerable. I mean, I’ve been seeing him for many months now, and still, I feel so vulnerable . . . Let me put it this way – before our first date, I had to watch the video ** “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger,” featuring young cancer patients fighting for their lives at Seattle Children’s Hospital! This is how much courage it took to take that first step.
But what a man he has turned out to be. At one point, he promised that he would never disappoint me. And he hasn’t. He hasn’t.
It’s strange how this grief weaves through my life. Sometimes, I can’t see the forest for the trees. Sometimes, it’s an understatement to say that I bite off more than I can chew. Sometimes, I am so truly weak, and I am lucky that I have such good people looking after me, and forgiving my shortsightedness, and shortcomings.
I think I’m lonely tonight because I feel so very, very sorry for that girl who was me a year ago. And there was nothing I could do to help her.
But I hold her in her loneliness. And I tell her that I understand. And I remind her that she needs to forgive herself. For not…being perfect…for not….finding her way. And I’d like to whisper in her ear that it’s not over until the fat lady sings. I’d like to whisper that very, very good things are going to happen, and she will receive unexpected gifts in the future. Many, many, very, very, unexpected gifts.
** Don’t know if I’ve shared this video, or not with you. It’s so inspiring, full of true courage, and definitely worth watching! You’ll have to copy and paste the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihGCj5mfCk8
Or, just go to www.youtube.com, and search for Stronger Seattle Childrens Hospital.