2012. The year that the anaesthetic wore off, and I had to start putting things back together. I feel a bit like that chic at the end of a disaster movie who finally gets to sit down and rest; covered in blood, dirt and alien slime, and in need of someone to give her a big hug. I have been trying really hard to pinpoint the moment when I started feeling like the battle was over and I was ready to start the rebuild. But sometime over the past few weeks, I've started to find myself feeling braver. Stronger. Better.
Now, I am not saying I've regained all my sanity. I am still likely to lose my shit over stupid things, swear more than I ever have, possibly break a few more plates (I have too many anyway...), but I feel like I have some semblance of control over things again. Grief is a very weird thing, and it takes so much of you. It's not just feeling sad. Grief, real grief, consumes you. I have found that I couldn't cope with anything going wrong. I couldn't cope with changes in plans. I couldn't manage situation where I might meet new people and they might ask questions I wouldn't know how to answer. I felt like a bottle mostly filled with sand and even a small scoop of anything more was enough to push me over the edge.
I feel different now. Something has changed in me; the dam broke and some of the sand in the bottle has slipped away. I have more...space...for things. For life. For love.
The past year has been hard, and there have been times when I have wondered if I could survive it. If my marriage and my friendships and my job could survive it. But somehow, mostly through the patience of the wonderful people in my life, I withstood being swept away with the storm of my grief. I faced losing my child and I have learnt to manage the pain. I'm a bit astounded, actually.
As the year comes to an end, a year with so many ups and downs I wondered many times if I would permanently feel a bit seasick, I thought it would be a good time to take stock of all that's happened. So here goes...
- The feeling of being so alone and frightened, and wondering if I would ever feel part of the world again
- The physical pain that went with losing Poppy, and the fear and anger that consumed me at times
- Trying to help Xav through his own grief and understanding of death
- Hamish (my gorgeous nephew) battling cancer, undergoing chemo and losing his leg
- Nana Grace passing away
- Wondering if I could ever do my job well again
- Losing touch with some people who didn't know what to say to us
- Being hurt by people who didn't know what to say to us
- Feeling like a terrible wife, mother & friend
- The people who reached out, who didn't stop calling, who didn't stop inviting me to things, knowing eventually I would start going again
- Knowing that not everyone would forget Poppy, and she would mean something to many people
- Learning that my family would stick by us though thick and thin, and I would always try to do the same
- Hamish being cancer-free :)
- Meeting many new friends who know and understand the grief of losing a child
- Managing to work, and still do a good job
- Finding I work in a great place with great people
- Knowing I have real friends, who have been there for me
- Using the time Poppy gave me to learn cake decorating
- Beginning to try harder to be a better wife, mother and friend
- Learning to stop stressing over the small stuff.
- Being less compassionate and more compassionate at the same time
- Learning the things about myself that I don't like, but needing to know them so I can begin to be better at them
- Wanting the joy of another baby, but being frightened of having one, or replacing Poppy
On the eve of 2013, I make a new promise to myself. To be well again. To want to live again, and make the most of this little life I have. I'm excited for 2013. I hope we can make it a lucky one for all of us. 'Cause let's face it, we ought to be due for a good year.