I’ve been in a funk lately. People bug me just by smiling, being polite and being friendly. It’s like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and stayed cranky and rotten all day long. I’ve been agitated and anxious for no apparent reason. So, I did what I do best. I called my mom and asked her what the heck was wrong with me? Her answer surprised me yet again.
“Surviving meant being born over and over again.”
– Erica Jong
My mom said, “Well, you get like this every year around this time. It doesn’t surprise me. We all get a little sad and depressed this time of year.” That’s when it hit me. The anniversary of my father’s suicide is coming up. I can never remember the date even though I write it down or check through my old date books or ask a family member at least once a year. I go through this every spring like an extended version of the movie “Groundhog Day.” I feel bad for no obvious reason. I lose all of my energy and have this feeling of impending doom. I walk around feeling like something bad is about to happen and that I have to try and stop it, but in reality it’s too late. It has already happened. I seem to have some sort of block or denial surrounding this time of year. I am almost certain I had this exact conversation with my mom last year and the year before that. Turns out I did. My husband confirmed it. I go through this every year and every year I have no insight into why I am feeling low and down until someone reminds me. Then it all makes sense.
“The wealth of a soul is measured by how much it can feel; its poverty by how little.”
– William Rounseville Alger
It seems my grief and feelings of loss have a secret life beneath the surface. While I am busy toiling away with the daily things I need to do to keep my life on track, my loss and grief are bubbling below waiting to make their yearly pilgrimage to my conscious awareness. It may or may not be a healthy way to deal with my pain, but it is what it is. I’ve made it through the worst of it. I don’t cry on a daily basis like I did in the beginning. At this point I only think about it maybe once a month as opposed to once a minute like I did in the first few weeks following the day we found my father’s body. The one thing that has continued after all of these years is that the week before the anniversary of his death I seem to relive those anxiety filled hours that I actually experienced during the week before his death. The week we couldn’t find him.
“Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.” – Oscar Wilde
Jim and I have been discussing this quite a bit over the past few days. We’ve come to the conclusion that I need some kind of ritual to memorialize my father. Something I can do every spring so I don’t have to keep going through this. I need it to be out in the open so it is in my awareness and not festering beneath the surface. I haven’t come up with anything yet, but I am putting some serious thought into it. For now, I am writing this blog post and dedicating it to my father’s memory. I hope he found some peace and I miss him. To all those people out there who have lost someone they love you are in my prayers and I hope that someday you can find peace too.
“The only cure for grief is action.” – George Henry Lewes