Anticipation, or being enthusiastic, is an emotion involving pleasure, excitement, and sometimes anxiety in considering some expected or longed-for good event. Robin Skynner considered anticipation as one of “the mature ways of dealing with real stress… You reduce the stress of some difficult challenge by anticipating what it will be like and preparing for how you are going to deal with it”.
Nothing, not anything, can prepare a human being for loss. I’m learning that I have no idea what lies ahead. Just when I think I have things under control, I’m knocked back into grief. This word “grief,” it’s literally all around me. The more I look, the more I see of other’s walking through some multifaceted form of grief. I am not exempt from this list. Even though I try so hard to push and deny my way away from grief. The ugly, lonely, hard to breath, debilitating kind. The kind where only isolation makes sense to me. It’s diving into mindless smut on television because it’s a distraction from the real, anticipatory thoughts that enter my brain daily. The daily thought of death. It never leaves. It surrounds my sweet, innocent, brown-eyed, sunshine haired, quiet, loving gift of a girl.
This past Tuesday, Livia fell. I placed her on a kitchen chair that sits right next to my refrigerator. She had just gotten home from school and still had her coat, AFO’s, hat, and gloves on. I placed her there to go get Finley’s piano books and my coat. My plan was to scoop her back up and go directly to our van where we would wait for Finley to be delivered by her bus. Off to piano lessons we’d go. However, as soon as I turned the corner, on a mission for piano books, I heard a crash followed by a screaming cry. Liv had fallen face first onto my kitchen floor. Blood, swollen lip, instant bruise, and a broken heart. It was an accident, and I get that, but it threw me into the trenches of grief. Liv took an entire 24 hours to recover. I knew she was sore, but she was off. Naturally, I felt horrible, but this time it hit me physically. A tiredness and soreness that I’ve never experienced before. It was grief showing me another “face.” I turned friends down for phone calls, denied food to be delivered, ignored calls and even my door bell. Here’s the thing. I loathe talking about this because I know I haven’t even reached the end of the plank where the plunge will be the deepest, darkest, dirtiest trenches of grief that will surely consume me. It’s what my friends are experiencing because their beloved’s died at tender tender ages. However, this is all a process, and it all takes time.
Livia’s accident, as I was reminded by a wise fellow Sanfilippo mom, was a very visual reminder of how fragile she is. Life is fragile for all of us, but I’m losing little pieces of my girl everyday. Right in front of my eyes, things are changing. Friend’s children are dying. Funerals are being attended. Hard conversations are happening. Grief is being felt; mentally and physically.
Just like in the movie “Inside out,” we learn that we can’t have Joy without Sorrow. It takes time for Joy to realize how important
Sorrow is in the balance of life. How true this is in my journey. Specifically with grief. Nothing, not anything was going to bring me out of the physical grip grief had on me besides time. I had to feel it, I had to let it happen. I had no choice. Coming out on the other side has let me reflect on all of this. It has made me see that there will be many times in my life that this will happen,
and only time will heal whatever multifaceted balancing act the day brings. This reflection and experience is a sort of re-boot. Being crippled from grief makes me appreciate my strength and the blessing in taking care. How consuming her, being in her presence is the wisest and most important life lesson I will ever receive.
My friends, thank you to those that listen and not try to fix. Thank you to those who don’t think twice about an unanswered phone call or text. Thank you to those that offer and offer and offer; and after all the rejections still choose to show up. Thank you for not comparing or rushing me through. Thank you for praying and for loving. Thank you to those who feed us; spiritually and nutritionally. I cherish you and see how much you love us, especially my girls. You are key players in this balance of life. One more big one…..thank you for holding my hand! (wink)