Lately I have been feeling the physical effects of grief almost daily. I have no motivation, I'm exhausted for no good reason. Each morning I just want to pull the covers over my head and hide. I have zero initiative. And this has been going on for about 2 weeks. I couldn't figure it out. Mentally and emotionally I felt great. I wasn't missing Caleb that much. Overall I was happy. This month of the year I have few memories with him, so less grief attacks. I'm not particularly stressed out in any way. So it remained a mystery and eventually I just gave into it. Friends would call, I wouldn't answer. I just didn't have the energy. Sometimes I would even wait 2-3 days to check my voicemail. The laundry remained in the closet piled high. I just couldn't "get with the program," so to speak.
Then 4th of July came yesterday. And breakdown city last night. The 4th of July is the first major holiday I am having to live without Caleb, again now for the 2nd year. Last year I didn't really care because he would have still been a baby and we would have probably kept him home. But this year, he would be almost 15 months old. I can only imagine how he would have loved (or hated-if he is like me!) the fireworks. And last night as Nathan and I stayed home, we heard the fireworks and I lost it. I cried and wanted to see my Caleb in his 15 month old self. I felt the pain like it was raw and new again and wanted to curl up in a ball and just be somewhere other than here.
Another trigger I think was the fact that last 4th of July is when we found out we were pregnant with Abigail. It was the first big step of life pushing me forward. The first time that I had to actually put my grief on the back burner in order to care for another baby. And so all of those memories, emotions, feelings came flooding back. I am still constantly shocked by how much the seasons and senses play into grief. How they can literally sneak up on you and you have no control over them, no matter how many times it has happened before. That is the thing that drives me the craziest about grief- you cannot beat it no matter how hard you try. It has a way of taking you captive each time until you just surrender and give in.
Once I pulled myself together last night, it all started clicking. I think my grief has been worse because of this stupid holiday that was approaching. It may sound weird, but others who are grieving out there get it. Sometimes in grief your body just knows before your mind does and starts acting out. So yesterday was the start of the 2nd year of holidays without Caleb. And its still as hard as the first.
Today I am taking it easy-a self care day. These usually last about 1/2 a day before I feel the guilt so heavy it forces me to get dressed, shower, and act like I belong in the land of the living. If you or someone you know if grieving during the second year, still be compassionate. Its just as hard, but a different kind of hard. Holidays, even small ones like 4th of July, can be difficult to get through.