I had the usual ‘countdown’ from Son Number One’s birthday nine days beforehand to the anniversary of Daughter Number One’s death yesterday. Really it starts around her birthday in February but kicks in in earnest from Son Number One’s birthday. There’s been the nightmares, with various themes revolving around loss and fear (read terror). I wake from these dreams exhausted and literally sore from holding tension in my body and thrashing in my sleep. Sometimes this translates into actual injuries but aside from a painful wrist and knee I’m not doing too badly. I haven’t clawed at my face, so that’s nice. I’ve been more easily startled than usual, and with the whole hyper vigilance thingy I startle easily anyway so having that rev up a notch has been interesting. We were driving home on dusk the other night and two cars turned near us and that was enough to make me jump out of my skin. Twice.
Today I woke up with chest pain which went away during the day but is back in force as I write this evening. The eczema on my hand has flared up. Headaches are how I usually manifest stress so it’s business as usual there. There’s some dizziness and disorientation. I am more clumsy and absent minded. My body feels heavy and apart from the soreness on waking there is a pervasive ache throughout, as if I am physically bruised all over. Everything feels too hard. I was more than usual antsy yesterday and couldn’t put my finger on it until I realised that this anniversary fell on the same weekday as the day Daughter Number One died, which added another dimension and made it harder to get lost in the present day. In the preceding days my head plays on a loop her final ones. I distract myself as best I can. On the actual anniversary it jumps to hours and minutes. ‘At this time you were sleeping in because you didn’t know it was your Daughter’s last day on Earth’,’At this time she was walking out the door and that was the last time you ever saw her’ (and I can see her still, see what she was wearing, see her leave but I can’t go back and I know, oh god, that she is gone now, that I have lost her, even though she hasn’t taken her last breath yet),’At this time you were going out of your mind because you didn’t know where Daughter Number One was and you didn’t yet understand she was never coming back’. Thankfully, last night, by the time ‘At this time the police car pulled up out the front and the police chaplain got out’ came around I was in bed with The Love of My Life’s arms wrapped around me, asleep.
I don’t pretend for a second that I am easy to be around sometimes, for any number of reasons, so I am extremely grateful to those that love me enough to stick by me. Special mention as always goes to my knights, those loyal friends who walk with me. Ones I’ve had since before my Daughter’s death, and those I’ve made since. Those of you who drop in to read my words. The person closest to me though gets to witness my grief on a much more intense level. The Love of My Life can’t scroll past my words on facebook or not read my latest blog post or pretend not to notice when he’s not in the mood, because I’m living this life right here next to him. When I exclaim aloud in the car and clutch the dashboard because something (nothing) has made me jump, it is him I distract from driving. He sees my tears and feels them wet against his chest. He asks me questions and listens to me speak Her name.
Throughout the last week The Love of My Life has been able to hold me, gently cupped in his hands, while my wings beat frantically against his palms in my fear, pain and confusion. He has neither crushed me nor let me fall. And when I’ve steadied myself it will be his hand supporting me that lifts me up to fly again.