I’d had a couple of great months. Over the summer I hadn’t posted much here on the blog because most of my PR and other micro-influencer type work had kept me occupied over on Instagram, but this fall I came back to blogging with greater fervor and it has been so rewarding to do so. A few weeks ago I noticed that everything was going really well. My family is thriving, finances are secure, and generally everything seems to be on a gentle, upward tick. It’s been nice not being burdened with worry or fear these past few months. We needed a break from both of those things.
It was all so nice I almost forgot that grief is a very deep well. And while I can sometimes feel like I’ve climbed out of it, I’m not sure I will ever be free from it.
I miss the people I lost in 2016. I miss my cousin and I miss my mom. I still have sadness, sorrow, regret, and sometimes guilt. I have more good days than bad days now, which I’m so very glad about. But, I forgot it will always hurt. It will always ache. I will never climb all the way out of this well and at any given moment I could lose my footing and slip back down into the murky depths of it.
Without knowing what I was getting into, I began watching the Netflix series, The Haunting of Hill House. What I expected was a spooky, ghostly romp. Instead what I found was a storyline built around suicide and the demons that plague us and cause us to harm ourselves and others.
And I lost my footing.
I spent the day in bed, sobbing. Everything was so fresh again. I could hear my mom’s voice on the phone close to 2am telling me that my cousin had taken his life. I can remember screaming, “No!” into the receiver and my mother tearfully saying, “I know, sweetie. I know.”
“We have to be brave for Aunt S now. We need to be brave. We need to go be with her.”
I hung up with my mom and sat on the edge of my bed in the darkness sobbing. My partner wrapped themselves around me as I heaved. I barely had time to process any of it because my mom and my aunt needed me. I threw clothes on and drove to my mother’s house to pick her up. Within 30 minutes we were with my aunt.
It was all so real again. The horror of it. The despair. The neverending questions and the guilt of wondering what more you could have done and should have done. Wondering if you could have made that person feel more loved somehow. Trying to remember the last thing you said to them and when you said it. Wishing you’d hugged them extra tight when you said goodbye.
When I wasn’t crying I felt like I was in a fog, reminiscent of those first few weeks after his death. Walking around like zombies, knowing anything could set us off again, but until it did, barely existing at all. And when we finally felt like we were becoming human again, just six months after my cousin passed away, Mom died.
And it started all over again. The grief pulled us all right back down into that deep well of sorrow I know now I will never fully climb out of.
So, I lost my footing. And I may still be down in the cold water at the bottom of this well for a little while longer. The holidays especially are hard. I’ve learned I can not predict this grief, as much as I try to tell myself I’ve gotten a handle on it because it comes when it wants. It waits for me in the shadows. And when I fall back into it, I know I have to climb up again, but I don’t always know how long that will take or how high I’ll get this time. I just know I will fall and then I will climb again. And I will continue doing so for the rest of my life.
And sometimes it be that way.
If this holiday season is hard for you, I am sending you all my love. You’re not alone at the bottom of the grief well. I am right there with you. I will hold space for you and we will climb back out of it together.