I know that I owe pictures on this blog, I know. However, I am not going to post them today. I've had this blog entry in my head for the past few days and I think it's time for me to sit down and write it. Today, I'm 33 years old. It's my birthday and I celebrated the baby's first birthday yesterday. No time like now to write what I need to write about. Pictures will come soon. Especially of Little Sissy on her birthday. But here goes...
I think I've had an epiphany of sorts. The realization of what I've been through in the past seven years and where I am now. Now is good. It's better than good. It scares me to say it so much that I begin to choke up or cry when I do, but I'll take the leap and say it--I'm HAPPY. Not just faking it happy, or happy at parts of my life, I'm truly, genuinely, overwhelming happy. I can literally feel the difference.
The thing is, I *thought* I was happy before. I thought I was good. As it turns out, I've been faking it for years. So well that I had even convinced myself I was alright. Immediately after Allie passed, I launched myself into keeping busy. I volunteered at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, substitute taught, co-founded Heroes for Children. I worked to help make a difference and keep my daughter's memory alive. I was fine. People marveled at how fine I was.
I was fine until, simply put, I was NOT fine.
My breakdown this summer showed me just how not fine I really was. I've realized how little I've actually processed her death in the past six and a half years. Yes, I've made large speeches and presentations about Allie and her cancer treatment. The truth is that when making those speeches and talking about Allie, I found a way to be mechanical and business-like. I could separate myself from the situation enough to talk about her without emotion.
I went through the motions in my life.
Speaking of emotion, I hated it. Rarely would you see me cry over my loss. That's not to say that I didn't hurt or feel that pain. That's to say that I couldn't bring myself to allow that much pain to bubble up to the surface. So, I would eat instead. I'd stuff those emotions right back in with ice cream and cake. My weight fluctuated for years. As Debbie told me the other day, I was so afraid of being happy or finding happiness that I self sabotaged. I would hit a point of feeling good with my weight and feeling happier and I would start to feel the grief bubbling up. The pain coming to the surface was enough for me to destroy it all over again and begin gaining weight again.
In the past six months, I've faced my grief head on. I didn't run from it. I got help. I opened up my heart to the pain. I cried. My GAWD, I cried. I cried as much in 2010 as I did when she died in 2004. I don't think anyone really understood how badly I struggled during this time, not even Andrew. I tried my best to keep it private, though people knew I was in pain. I was "sick" more than once this summer where I just couldn't go into work or function. Andrew didn't know what to do at times. I finally hit the point of literally not wanting to get out of bed that I avoided when I first lost her.
Somewhere along the way, I got better. Yoga helped. Medicine helped. Friends and my husband helped. I lost 20 plus pounds without dieting. Can you imagine? The literal weight of my grief was wreaking havoc on my body. I still have weight to lose but I'm finally working towards it.
I've finally realized just how incredibly sad I was with my life.
I'm happy now. My children are AWESOME. My husband and I are happier than we've been in years. YEARS. I'm over the moon, ridiculously, butterflies in my stomach, IN LOVE with that man. I've been with him since I was 17, and I feel like a teenager again. He says he feels the same way. We are happy in this home and our life with our family. We're solid.
I still cry. I still miss her every day. However, now I let myself feel that emotion and not run from it. Now, I feel a lot less mechanical and more relaxed and comfortable. People keep mentioning to me that they SEE the difference, beyond just the weight loss. They see me show emotion, smile more, be happy, relax.
I'm still a grieving mom. I guess I always will be. At least now I can be a grieving mom who has still been able to find a way to find happiness in my life.
It feels good.