Emotional Whiplash

Ever have a month in which you feel just a little beat up? Where nearly every day seems full of more stuff than usual…and not just “busy” stuff, but emotional, big life stuff?

February has been a little like that.

I had some crazy things going on with work – busy, but good. My husband was out of town for almost a week. There was a lot happening with my non-profit organization. I always feel honored to do that work – but it can be sad and emotionally taxing. I was also helping get a new office squared away this month. And I did, and it’s exciting to have a new space for work. There was also Valentine’s Day, of course, with its parties and frills and my cousin welcomed a beautiful baby girl.

My grandmother with my boys at Halloween 2010.

Then my grandmother died…just four days before I threw a birthday party for my now-five-year-old. Then the next day we had a funeral. Somewhere in there I had a fever for 36 hours and baked 68 cupcakes. And saw most of my clients. And had family in town. And had the preschool call asking us to please come get our sick child.

I considered doing a post about my grandmother. And about family gathering around the funeral table, since food is usually a big part of that whole process, right? And also because I’ve talked about her on here over the past year. And also at Christmas. But what I wanted to say just wouldn’t come out right, so I deleted it.

My grandmother at Christmas 2010 with my aunt and my mother.

Then I thought, there’s birthday party fun to write about, too. Super hero training courses, a scavenger hunt, a magic show, almost 20 kids…and Batman cupcakes, of course. It was a really fun, really high energy day…the kind where you just can’t help but feel blessed and fortunate about family and friends…and the excitement of costume-wearing preschoolers is unavoidably contagious. In my head it was a really fun post to write…but it never made it out of my head.

I just didn’t feel like writing either one.

And there’s still one more milestone to go. On the 27th we always do something to memorialize our oldest son. He would have been seven this month. And while it’s certainly not as gut-wrenching as it was in those earlier years, I’m aware there’s a new emotional wrinkle this year. I can now think of him in my grandmother’s arms and I know how delighted she is to finally get to hold him. Such bittersweet things to consider.

And so I wrote neither post as its own, because it’s rare when we get to keep everything neatly separated like that. February will always be the month that contains Valentine’s and my grandmother’s death and brand new Madeleine’s birthday and a dear friend’s suicide and my precious son’s birthday and my oldest son’s simultaneous arrival and departure from our lives. There’s really nothing neat about it, each thing jumbled on top of another like that. And yet I’m grateful for such fullness, for such breadth of feeling and experience.

In some ways I know this month is just a microcosm of what life always is…the day-in-day-out balance of work and family and illness and fun…standing with your joy and sadness side by side…accepting the paradox that is life and loss always circling around each other…superheros one day and caskets the next.

And so, for now, this is enough.


10 thoughts on “Emotional Whiplash

  1. Laura

    Words are just one of your many super-talents. It’s almost like they beg to be arranged by you 🙂 I’m sorry I couldnt be there in person to share in the joy of L’s 5th birthday or the heartbreak of MeeMaw’s funeral but I was definitely with you in spirit as I will be on Sunday while thinking about Wheeler and thanking God ahead of time that we’ll all get to see him again and hold him just like MeeMaw is doing right now. I love you!

  2. Jennifer Rieck

    I only wish I was half as strong as you are…

    Your mother and father obviously did a fantastic job raising you and I’m sure your grandmother’s influence made you even more of the remarkable woman you are today.

  3. Allison

    “…standing with your joy and sadness side by side…accepting the paradox that is life and loss always circling around each other…” Well said. XO

  4. Christi Warren

    Powerful words. Thank you for sharing them…truly a treasure for your entire family. I will be thinking of you all on Sunday.

  5. Debby Stikes

    As I read and my eyes filled with tears, I lifted you and your beautiful family up in prayer. What a wonderful story of your life that someday your children will want to read and proudly share with their families as part of “that’s MY mom…”

  6. Marquel

    Very moving and powerful and that’s me speaking…not the post partum. I’m printing this out and putting it in my spiritual journal to remind me of how life really and truly is. Thank you!

  7. gatheraroundthetable

    Thanks for all the kinds words…really. I felt uplifted and heard and held with every comment. I feel so fortunate to have a forum like this and friends/readers like each of you!!

    And, so far, March is much easier. 🙂

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