Actually, in some respects, it has been a rough three years; but this past year, in particular, has been really tough. Ironic that a series of stressful events would start just two months after I stopped taking medication for PPD. I felt good, I felt normal, and I was happy to be on the road back to me. Then.... WHAM! Life has decided to test me; and there are days I'm not sure if I'll pass. There's the old saying, "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." True, perhaps, but I just have to say that I'm tired of being strong. I've been doing the strong thing since I was sixteen and I'm just ready for a break. (Preferably, an un-medicated break; just a long run of good luck, please.) Is that too much to ask? Don't get me wrong, I still know that I'm lucky. I know we're fortunate in our lives to be blessed with many things others pray for and I know there are others struggling to be much stronger than me. I also know that acknowledging my blessings doesn't diminish what I'm feeling; and that my feelings are valid. It's necessary to appreciate the good in life and to move on but how can we move on if we don't address our feelings, our struggles or our pain? I don't think we can. So I won't feel guilty for the feelings I have. Don't tell me I'm lucky and that others might wish for what I have. I know that and I appreciate that; but pain is pain and loss is loss and this past year has been a painful year of loss for me. Loss in the obvious sense and the not so obvious.
The end of 2009 brought with it a very early miscarriage (my doctor suspects possibly two). So early, in fact, that there wasn't time to share the news. I thought that meant I could be sad and move on. Not true. Turns out, grief is grief no matter how early the loss and I would soon find out this was something I would never forget and this loss was going to affect me more in the months to come.
Struggles with our son would bring a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder (formerly Sensory Integration Dysfunction) which would be both a blessing and a curse. Finally having a diagnosis, and knowing that not only was I not imagining his behaviors but that we would get help, was like lifting 100 pounds off my shoulders. Realizing my son is different, and diagnosed as such, would bring on more feelings of loss and anger. I was (am?) angry with God... why couldn't I have a normal motherhood? One free of PPD and with a "normal" (I hate to use that word but language fails me) child? Why is getting through the day so incredibly difficult? I'm emotionally and physically drained well before my husband gets home from work. At this point in time I was scared to death of having another baby which puts our plans on hold for a few months while I tried to deal with my conflicting feelings about more children. This would most definitely put a strain on my relationship with my husband through more or less our whole summer.
The summer would also bring the loss of my husband's grandfather. He was in his late 90's and "ready", making it "easier" to accept, but the loss of such a wonderful, loving, caring man who brought so many memories to my husband's life was in no way easy.
In the early fall, cancer would claim the lives of a very dear family friend, a father figure if you will, and also that of a mentor and colleague. I curse that disease which has take the lives of so very many important people in my life. Two people who had so much to offer this world are gone.
Then, last weekend, we very unexpectedly lost my beloved cat, Snickers. He was an important part of my life for ten years, moved with me from California to New York, and gave unconditional love. Perhaps the most painful part, however, is that he had become my two year old's very best friend. I had often recently commented to my husband that Snickers was no longer my cat; he was J's. Watching my son struggle with this loss is breaking my heart to pieces. As my friend told me, I know the drill. I know it gets better but how do I help a sad little boy who just wants to play with and love "Kitty SheeShees"?
So, as I struggle with pain and loss, I'm ready to heal. I want to move on but never forget. I want happiness to dull the pain. I think it's about time.