Every night, I attempt sleep. I feel my eyelids grow heavy. I yawn. I crawl into bed, thinking this will be the night I close my eyes and drift off to sleep. And each night, I lay there, brain on fire, rapid thoughts shooting across my mind like a military airstrike. I toss and turn, try counting backwards from 300, try breathing exercises, try anything that will calm my thoughts and allow me to drift into slumber. Every single night I go through this process. Last night it was 2:00 am when I last looked at the clock.
Each morning, I open my eyes. Eyelids are still heavy, but this time from lack of sleep. My neck and back feel stiff and sore. It only takes a split second to realize that life since November 1st hasn’t been a nightmare from which I am waking, but the reality of my life in its current state. I lay there, searching deep within myself for the willpower to throw back the covers and rise from my hiding place. I know life goes on. I know this is temporary. I know I have gone through terrible heartache in the past and managed to find my way out of the deep, thick woods of sadness and loss that accompany such events. I know this, and yet, it still feels like it will continue to acutely haunt me as long as continue to take breath into my lungs.
Lest one thinks I am in a deep dark hole of depression, I want to say that yes, there is a sense of depression, but I still find some kind of joy each day. I still find something to laugh at, and no, I’m not just laughing at my own pain to deflect, although I do that as well. I know there are things to look forward to: K’s wedding next month, the wine and cheese festival (don’t judge, wine and cheese are two of my most favorite things), the reopening of Saturday Market, one of the best people-watching spots, heading downtown during the Starlight Parade, when the streets are filled with people and you can walk around seeing cheesy lighted floats at various spots in town, Hood River Fruit Loop. Soon, Portland will be in the throes of spring time, and the cherry blossom trees will bloom as the sun starts peeking out from the clouds more and more.
I know there are daily things to look forward to as well. Laughing with my family and friends, birthdays, the first sip of a really good wine, and the first sip of a really good whisky as well. Cheesecake. The soothing sound of the rain. Yoga. Hiking. The aroma of the forest is one of my favorite scents, and I really want to make it a regular part of my routine. These are the things I need to remember when the world feels dark and I feel lonely.
Because even though I am surrounded by family and friends, I still feel lonely. Tuesday marks one month since the M Word, and I will be mourning alone, not with the father. My mother will be here, but in times like this, you just want to be by the person with whom you most closely shared the loss. When he wakes on Tuesday, he may not realize what day it is at all, but I will be thinking about him and our loss anyway.
Sometime in the next two weeks I should be getting my first period since September. I wonder if that will help me feel like my body has returned to normal, and that life is moving forward. I still need to schedule my post-miscarriage check up, an appointment I am dreading. I never want to return to that clinic. And after I have my appointment, I never will.
January is past its halfway mark, and once we get through the doldrums of February, spring will be here. Although I am an atheist and don’t celebrate Easter, I’ve been thinking about the symbolism behind that holiday, and the season in which it occurs. The resurrection of Jesus is basically triumph of life over death, and springtime is rebirth, transformation, renewal. Spring has never been my favorite season. In fact, it’s generally my least favorite. Not because of anything in particular, just because I have reasons to like the others more. However, this year I am keeping in mind what this time of year represents, and I want to incorporate the symbolic nature of spring into my own life. At some point, I need to really get back out there and really start living life again. Spend more time with my loved ones. Work on improving myself. And eventually, when I no longer feel lonely and broken, open my heart up to the possibility of love again.
So for now, I will continue to be gentle with myself, remembering that this is the time for self-care, and that there is life beyond this experience. Maybe tonight will the the night that my head hits the pillow and I successfully drift off to sleep.