Monday, August 24, 2020

Four years of flowers.

I realized I've had this post in drafter since a few days after Lucy's birthday and I'm not sure why I didn't post it. I'm going to post it now because I use my blog as a journal of sorts and I find myself going back to read things from previous years to maybe understand where I was at.  


It is really strange to think Lucy is four. Every year I struggle with her birthday and I really hate it. I hate that her birthday, which is a time that I should celebrate and be grateful I have this amazing little kid, is also synonymous with the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It's the source of my trauma and the starting point of all of the things I struggle daily with. 

I hate that it is the same event. 

Most every year I think her birthday is going to be the worst, maybe the hardest day. And every year I forget that it is always the day before that is a struggle for me. I think maybe because I don't remember anything from the day she was born, which is certainly a blessing and a curse all on its own. The day before her birth is the last memories I have of my old life. When everything was easier, it made a little more sense, I had a little more control. 

On that day, I was in tremendous pain, I didn't feel well. I was sick to my stomach, everything on my body hurt, I was swelling up in weird places, I felt faint and dizzy the entire day. I had Olivia and Penelope at exactly 39 weeks so the goal was to walk this baby out because the next day, I would be exactly 39 weeks. 
It was mid morning so we went to Canal Park, that's where I successfully walked a baby out before. The kids pretended to be tourists, we threw some rocks in. We went to eat lunch at Grandma's Restaurant, just like before I had Olivia. 
After lunch, all of us went to the Rose Garden/Leif Erikson Park. We hadn't ever taken the kids there and we thought it was weird. It was starting to get hot. There were artists on the walkway and a woman with interesting art that she was giving away on magnets. I don't remember looking at her art, but I remember her giving me a magnet and telling me it would all work out. Thinking that was strange, I put the magnet in my purse. It's actually still on my fridge because I feel like I can't throw it out. 

Penelope was obsessed with flowers that summer so we spent so much time sniffing flowers, right up until her nap time. The last thing I remember of my old life is getting into the cry with everyone crabby and Penelope crying. 

That's it. 

Every year I think about that day. The last few years I've gone to Leif Erikson Park by myself. It's usually been after a doctor appointment or something, so I've always been basically right there. Every year I've sat on a park bench, looking at the lake, and cried. 


And I've been OK with that. I'm not sad because I'm alone. I'm sad because I struggle with being happy and being sad and being angry. I have a hard time being all of those things. I feel like if I'm angry, I can't be happy. If I'm happy, people think I've moved on and I haven't. I won't move on from this. 

This year though, I asked Matt if we could do our nightly walk there instead. 

Because he's such a great guy and he gets it because he has memories of his own from those days that he doesn't share with me, he said yes. 
So that's what we did. 
We did our whole walk, mostly in silence. I looked at the lake. I tried hard to not cry. I don't know if you know this, but if you sit on a bench, staring at the lake, and you are silently crying, people think you are mentally ill and unsafe. You get the quick glances, people point, some laugh, but nobody asks if you're OK. 
This year I had Matt though. He doesn't do any of those things. I didn't cry on the bench, though. I think maybe I was all cried out from earlier in the day, though. He will hold my hand and pull my hair back when it gets sticky on my face from the humidity. He doesn't say anything. Maybe he's thinking his own things. Life hasn't been the same for him either. He doesn't have the same wife, the same partner. We both make do with what we have. 

A theme I've really struggled with this year is being grateful and being angry and sad at the same time. I've worked a lot on it in therapy. I've thought a lot about it. I still do. 

So imagine my surprise when, on our way out of the park, I literally stumbled on this: 
I didn't even notice until Matt said the established year is the same year we got married. Maybe I'm just an actual klutz and the world is a coincidence. Maybe its something more. I don't know. 
On Lucy's actual birthday my friend Amy sent me flowers. Of course I cried. 

Then my friend Tammy sent me flowers. Of course I cried again. I am lucky, and grateful, to have friends who know those days are really awful for me. I know I don't even have to tell them those are hard days and I am at my emotional lowest point but I'm trying to be upbeat and happy because Lucy is so excited. I am lucky. I am lucky to have amazing friends, terrific kids, and a great husband. I know of other survivors who don't have that kind of support system and I don't know how they do it. I know I struggle so hard with it, I don't know what life would be like without them.  



Shooting Stars Mag said...

I love that you had Matt with you this year.
I love that you have friends and family that get how hard Lucy's birthday is and make sure to show they care.
I'm glad you've been working through various emotions in therapy. It's hard to feel different things at once, but everyone does, and that's okay.
You can be angry and sad, but also happy and grateful.
You can be all things.


jn said...

First of all, Happy Birthday Lucy ! Time has flown by. are amazing! You have come so far from that time. You fight the fight, and you survive to fight another day. Sometimes that's all we can do. Your honesty and candidinace are to be admire by all of us. Hang in there're doing it.

Why Girls Are Weird said...

I really love that you brought Matt with you this year. I think maybe it could do good for you as a couple to be together during this time. And of course happy birthday to Miss Lucy.