It was a wonderful Christmas spent with family and friends. Aside from my daughter having caught the flu Christmas Eve it was pretty perfect.
We spent the holidays in the mountains in my childhood home surrounded by the trees, deer and elk scratching below the white snow blanketing the grass beneath. The air was crisp and fresh. The atmosphere quiet. So serenely still.
Nostalgia took over as I walked my dog around my small childhood town where me and my childhood friends played; sharing time between each of our homes, biking through the town without a fear or care in the world. As teenagers we played sports and partied in the forest. The familiar brought a smile to my face.
We celebrated the holidays with family and friends. People who know the kids and I and allowed us to rest and surround us with love. My mom and dad decorate the house each year and the decorations reminded me of the thrill of Santa coming, and the sound of family eating turkey. It was a pretty perfect Christmas.
Except it wasn’t; it was and it wasn’t simultaneously.
I had brought our stockings to hang over the fire place. It’s classic and beautiful. On Christmas Eve I sat in my dad’s rocking chair admiring those three stockings anticipating the kids opening their gifts enthusiastically.
Then it hits. It hits hard, fast, and without warning.
There is a stocking missing. There is a laugh missing. There is a person missing. My person. The person who would be as excited about the kids opening presents as I am. The only person who would share this with me.
This person is dead. He’s gone. My Peter, our Peter is gone.
I had to get up and leave. Grief has this way of coming in and making you breathless at the most inappropriate times. I sat in my brother’s childhood room and cried. I miss him. I miss sharing these moments with him. The kids kiss him in these moments and everything sucks and it’s unfair.
I remember finding his bin last year; the bin full of his belongings I was collecting to give back to him during our separation. I grieved last year but in a much different way.
New Years this year came with a different form of grief as well. A memory of our first New Years together haunted me all day. as I worked some overtime to get caught up at work. My getting ready after work to meet him back at work because he worked until midnight. I remember the outfit I wore. I remember taking the time to do my hair just right and fixing my make up. The black silk tank top matched perfectly with my purple dress pants and black earrings. We had been together for five months and everything still felt so new and exciting. I remember walking through the back doors just as the countdown to New Years started. He was standing at the slot cage, his big green eyes met mine just as everyone yelled Happy New Year. Except we didn’t yell. Our eyes stayed connected and we just smiled. The timing was perfect, the moment was perfect, I thought he was perfect.
This New Years this memory and that moment interrupted my thoughts all day. I wanted so desperately to go back to that place where I seen him and knew he was the one. The place and time where everything stood still; there was just us. The entire day was spent fighting the urge to tear my skin off because I was so desperate to get away from the pain, the grief and the want to go back to the perfect moments where he was alive, we were happy, and we were healthy.
I spent the evening being silently angry at him, getting drunk with two of his friends. I needed to numb the feelings that night. I needed to just not feel how I’d been feeling since Christmas Eve.
The point I guess I’m trying to make is the grief of last year wasn’t worse. In fact, I felt this year was worse. I don’t know if it’s because I gave up coping as well as I was, or if I was numb still, or if it’s just different from last year. Either way, year two is proving to be a challenge I wasn’t expecting.
I’m remembering more of the good, more of the man I married and less of the man bipolar turned him into. I’m remembering just how very much I loved him and how very much he made me laugh. These memories are a blessing and a curse because they make the pain worse.
The anger makes it easier to push forward. The memories make me desperate to go back.
I have no idea which way I’m going again even though I know I have no choice.
I have I mentioned how much I hate bipolar disorder right?