Man this grief thing is exhausting. Sometimes I just think is life that is draining me and making my brain crazy. It is not living that is tiring… it is Madeline’s dieing… it is the feelings and pain and remembering and functioning and moving that are freaking exhausting. Living keeps me sane, this exhaustion is HEAVY. I don’t know sometimes how I get from one place to another, how I remember to get to a doctor’s appointment, how I cooked or cleaned, if I followed directions for a project or a game… I can’t believe the world trusts me to be functioning. Today I am beat… mentally, physically, emotionally… heck probably spiritually and any other way there can be. I guess the positive is that I am still here… and my girls are safely tucked in bed (probably wearing the clothes that they had on earlier and maybe not that well fed)… and my house is still standing… and I did some sort of workout today… so I guess mission accomplished. Today = DONE and alive.
This exhaustion has nothing on the kind I am used to… I barely sleep and spent 2 and 1/2 years pregnant and many more nursing a baby and taking care of a bunch of others… being up all night will a puker or a teether… getting up the next day and playing and cleaning and feeding and wiping and driving and teaching and singing and talking… and that was exhausting. This is a different kind of drain. This is a mountain on your shoulders that you are too tired to get out from under but it is heavy and hard and always there. I don’t know the best way to explain. I think I am too tired…
I am going to go read and think and hope that Maddie’s all around and okay… I am going to sleep and get up tomorrow to get through another day… maybe tomorrow the mountain will be a little lighter. Who knows…
I am welcoming the sunshine and the warmer air (here it feels like summer after this cold dark winter)… I know that spring is coming. I know that in a couple of weeks my tulips and daffodils will be popping out of the ground and we Musto Chicks will enjoy our first picnic of the year (most likely on a blanket on our driveway when it’s above 40*)… I know that the sun will lift my mood in a safe natural way and I know that I will get to be VERY busy outside these walls (home = prison right now).
So welcome spring. I am always glad when you start peeking into these winter days, but especially this year. I don’t know how we made it this long… but we keep chuggin’ and moving and living and getting by… looking forward to doing those things outside…
Honestly, I wander around this earth listening to people talk about a ‘bucket list’ this idea of a list of challenges or adventures to complete before ‘kicking the bucket’. The idea and term I have used to describe adventures or future goals I have… but I think we have the wording all wrong. Seriously… why wander around with this idea of living like you are dieing, or completing cool things before we die? I feel that it requires a different angle. Maybe a ‘Life Adventure List’… maybe ‘Living List’… hmmm… I don’t know. I will work on it. The idea is here though.
I have challenges and adventures and goals that I want to complete in this time on earth. Some things I have done… others are sitting in my brain helping me focus and look forward to living. I think these goals keep us alive… to have things to look forward to attempting or trying are so important. How freaking boring is a life with no adventures, no goals, no challenges? I think I will settle on the ‘My Life Adventure List’… it works for me. What, you wonder, is on my list…
My Life Adventure List
- To do a Polar Bear Dip (to prove that God made me well insulated and more equipped for these things…)
- To go to Europe (Paris, Ireland, Scotland, England and Italy… etc)
- To wear a bikini and feel hot for at least a day (even if I am 64 1/2 years old and it is at the YMCA)
- To run a marathon before I am 30 (COMPLETED)
- To be a great mom (STARTED… working on it)
- To be a Doctor
- To go somewhere exotic with Matt and step out of my comfort zone (try the foods, relax and feel at home)
- To learn to swim and do a triathlon
- To speak in front of a large group (and feel comfortable)
- To write a book
- To be a grandmother (FAR AWAY)
- To sky dive (we now have wills…)
- To meet Regis and Kelly…
- To drive standard well (Started learning… need lessons)
These are the ones that sit in my brain right now… on a regular basis. So this is me, redirecting my list, changing the perspective associated with this list… looking forward to adding new challenges and adventures throughout my life. I hope to look back and know that many of my life adventures were completed when I ‘kick the bucket’… when I get to see my lovely again… when I get a break from living, moving, running, smiling, crying, rushing, playing… when my living adventure is all done.
These words sum up so much of my heart. On days when I want to disappear but know where can I go to not ‘feel’ this… this is now me! Madeline was huge and amazing and I love her. Grieving is hard and love is expensive. I will never stop grieving, it will just become a piece of my being… Madeline was too big and important and a part of me to not feel that forever…
Welcome back sun… If you go away again, I will come find you. I can’t wait for you to stay longer, keep me warmer and keep my heart brighter…
So spring come ASAP.
So I guess we made it… we climbed, we ran, we moved and we jumped through one year with no Madeline. I thought it would take longer or move slower or not happen… I guess in retrospect I didn’t think through to it, but it came. My brain honestly can take one thing at one time… or else… so I probably had so many things leading to ‘One’ that it became a one thing.
One event, one moment, one day, one holiday, one doctor’s appointment, one school assignment, one night out… anymore in the schedule that my brain sees and I will be overwhelmed, stressed and not-so-functional. Which is ridiculously hard… because I usually juggle a million things and people have expectations… what time will we get there? What will we eat? What is the plan? Silly people- plans are for normal people. If the world could see the chaos in my brain they would wonder how I drive my girls, remember Odyssey of the Mind or Gymnastics or dinner… and they would see how often those things fall out of my brain. Oh well… I guess we get to bedtime most days and I don’t expect too much more most of the time.
One year and now 3 days since I saw my Mads. It is so stupid that I have so many more of this type of anniversary to move through… stupid.
The weekend was better than expected… chock full of people, food, wine, events that I had to do no work and seeing lots of people remember my Maddie. It was celebrations and distractions… a couple days of being with Maddie’s people… I hope that forever they do this… they better, they must.
So here we are moving, living, remembering, smiling, crying, showing off, running and working through Year Two… and we already have a few days gone.
Weird moment today… actually most of my days are filled with weird moments and strange conversations… Sometimes it feels like I am just always caught off-guard or just unprepared to talk to someone… anyway back to today’s weird moment.
Sitting at my foot doctors for a quick visit, I of course brought my girls and was sitting there waiting for the Doctor. I looked around at the wallpaper and was brought back to the day I found out I was pregnant for Madeline. (A quick note- my primary care doctor moved across the parking lot a couple of years ago and my foot doctor is in the old offices)…
I realized that the room they always take me in when I have all the girls is the same room he told me I was pregnant in. I remember my Primary Care Doctor saying, in a really happy way “You are pregnant!”… and I must have looked exactly how I felt- TERRIFIED and SCARED and SAD. The realization that I was about to become a grown up… that I only had about 1 year of work experience under my belt… that I had literally just gotten married weeks before… I was so not ready to be a mom. I came home that night and had the worst migraine and it was Halloween. I not only could take no medicine for my headache… I found out that I couldn’t eat cookie dough, deli meats, no wine… and it was A LOT for me to take in. Matt told me “Erin, don’t worry. It is going to be good. We are going to be okay.” It took me about 8 months to come to terms and be excited about Madeline… then her labor and delivery were HORRIBLE. It took me another several months to like her… She was the very best person to happen to me.
Madeline made me so happy so often. She made me want more kids very soon… She was content, simple, happy, a great sleeper, a great eater… and chock full of joy. God made her of only the good stuff… even when she was a little stinker. We spent days putting miles on strollers… first a single one, then a double and finally a triple stroller. These girls have been the best job ever… the hardest and the most challenging… but the best.
I miss you, but it is more than miss. ‘Miss’ is just the word the world uses to describe something we are lacking now. In that type of term I miss my old Birkenstocks… I miss our family cottage… I miss my little teal neon…
With you, Madeline, the word miss doesn’t touch how I feel.
I hate living without you. I don’t like going to bed with out three little girls breathing downstairs. I can’t believe I am still alive without you. I can not comprehend that life still moves. It hurts so much to take only two plates, two forks, two cups out of my cabinets. I absolutely despise not putting three people into car seats and singing Taylor Swift or Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga. Dance parties with Musto Chicks suck now. It is so painful to go to the park, the YMCA or out for ice cream with no Madeline. Halloween, birthday parties and family reunions are absolutely excruciating… it’s shocking that the pain doesn’t kill me.
How the hell does my heart still work? It still beats, send blood all over and does its job… so confusing.
I guess moral of the story- ‘miss’ is the wrong word. I think our vocabulary needs a better word. There must be a word that encompasses the hole that is in my heart and brain and soul and life. ‘Miss’ just doesn’t touch it.
I love you Mads. One year ago was terrifying, but at least I could still touch you and see you and hear your heart… how can life happen without you?