Grief has no expiration date. This is a depressing conclusion I came to last night. I know most of you are thinking "well, duh!". But to be honest this came as kind of a surprise. I have been on a sort of "high" the last few weeks. I have been so caught up with new goals and plans and school starting and a positive outlook that I honestly have not thought about Emily that much. I was really feeling like I was getting to that "good place" where I have fully accepted what happened and am ready to move ahead with an optimistic attitude.
Well, I think I was wrong. I had a break down last night. It really came out of nowhere. There wasn't even anything that brought it on either. The hubs and I had gone to bed and he fell asleep quickly, like he normally does and I was just laying there unable to sleep. So with the whole night ahead of me and nothing taking up my attention, I started thinking. And remembering. And next thing you know I'm crying and can't stop. I've thought about things a lot this morning (I probably should have been paying attention to my teachers...) and have come to a more realistic conclusion of what is happening. I am a real life Jekyll and Hyde. Or maybe a split personality is more accurate.
There is part of myself that most people would consider normal. I am generally happy and excited about goals and plans and am generally excited about my future and life in general. I go to school, I exercise, I spend time with family and friends and am a productive member of society. This is the self most people come in contact with when they associate with me.
Then there is my other self. Who is always in pain. Who struggles to get out of bed every morning. Who just wants to sleep so I don't feel anything. Who still doesn't understand why it had to happen. Who just wants to cry all the time and who thinks about Emily and babies in general constantly. This self is always there.
So I spend the majority of my time being happy/normal while constantly forcing my depressed self out of my mind. I don't like thinking about it and remembering it because it is too painful. It physically hurts and I have to remind myself to breathe or I might pass out. Being happy and acting like life is normal seems so much easier than having to relive April 19th over and over in my mind. So I ignore it. But it is exhausting. Constantly fighting an internal battle of wanting to be happy and having part of you that is always hurting is just exhausting.
So, similar to a shaken soda bottle, the pressure builds and I eventually break down. Every few weeks I have to allow myself to remember and think and hurt or I may go crazy. These times are always by myself, since I feel weird getting emotional and crying in front of people.
Following these break downs is usually a few days of feeling nothing. A feeling of numbness. Then within a few days I am back to "normal". Being happy and enjoying life, not thinking about Emily, until the pressure starts to build again. And so the cycle continues.
So last night during this break down I thought about the cemetery where Emily is buried and realized I really couldn't remember the last time I visited her grave. I am definitely ashamed to admit this. Every day, twice a day, I pass the road that goes to the cemetery and every day, twice a day, I think about Emily's grave and every day, twice a day I think to myself "It's been awhile, you should stop and visit her grave." But, remember, I am trying to be happy and normal so I push it out of my mind and continue on my merry way to school or home. I am trying so hard to get to that "good place" and get to my "new normal".
I am realizing that it is not going to be as easy to get to that "good place" as I thought and it is pretty discouraging. I just want it to stop. I want off this emotional roller coaster. I don't want to forget about Emily but I want to feel like ME again. I want to be genuinely happy and at peace without constantly having to push my hurting self away. I want to be excited about the possibility of being a mom again. I want to be excited about the prospect of having children. Because right now it's just scary. I wish there was someone who could tell me "you will be ok and stop hurting on THIS day and THIS time". I wish grief had an expiration date. But alas, that is just not realistic.
At least I know that after last night's breakdown, I will be good for at least the next few weeks.