You think Id be used to it by now.
Yet the end of May rocked around and my mood started to shift.
Really subtly, nothing to really notice at first.
Just a vague sense of unease, a certain ‘flatness’.
The unease evolved into dread and a strong feeling of…da da da…DOOM!
I’ve been ill this past couple of weeks too. Nothing serious, the flu, vertigo…oh, and my blood pressure is way up.
Maybe that’s not so good.
But, maybe that’s it? That’s why I feel the way I do?
And, yeah – things are tight financially, but, meh, nothing new there.
I’m enjoying my work, getting on (for the most part) with my kids (now, if they would only wash up their dishes things there would be perfect!)
Lots of potential opportunities with my business, heaps to look forward to.
Even been out on a few dates here and there.
Exploring hiking as a more regular hobby, and been indulging my fascination with labyrinths (more on that in another post).
That sense of impending DOOM though…what’s that all about?!
One benefit of being sick is it makes me stop.
Eventually, I can’t stand to binge watch any more TV series on Netflix or STAN and I start to think…
Dangerous, I know.
In this case though, its been enlightening.
Its shown me how easy it can be to forget (or maybe ‘avoid’ is a better word) all the emotions that come up for me at this time of year.
As I said – you think I’d be used to it by now.
It has been nearly 21 years after all.
You see, Rhiannon’s birthday is on June 29. She would have been 22 years old now. A short 2 weeks or so later on July 17 is the 21st anniversary of her death.
The last month of her life is firmly entrenched in my memory.
It all starts with my birthday.
I remember my birthday dinner at a restaurant, just family. And how well Rhiannon did, smiling at everyone, and eventually falling asleep in her pram. Such a good little girl to take out.
I remember a farewell party for one of her Daddy’s work mates at the local golf club and how she tottered around a circle of women sitting nearby, walking baby steps from knee to knee, smiling at everyone, making new friends, not shy like her mum.
I remember her 1st birthday, at Nan and Pop’s house. How she got such a shock when a balloon she was playing with popped. And how she giggled at her cat birthday cake.
And the day before she died, at playgroup, giggling and smiling, showing off how well she could stand, hanging on for dear life ( and what a dear little life she was) and ‘talking’ to a friend in a wheelchair.
I remember well the cheeky grin she gave me early that evening when she tottered across the lounge room then plopped onto her bum and looked back at me. “See?! Look what I did! I walked on my own!” that grin told me. She was so pleased with herself.
Just over 24 hours later she was dead.
It was only yesterday.
That’s how it feels sometimes.
Especially this time of year.
Isn’t that interesting?
Why does this time of year affect me so much? I’m without Rhiannon every day of my life. Why is the pain reignited now?
What is also interesting is I actually think it’s worse in the weeks and days leading up to Rhiannon’s birthday and anniversary. The days themselves are just another day really. Nothing significant to mark them as different from any other day, except memories of days decades past.
In recent years, my ‘go – to ‘ comfort for upset and grief is to look at nature, get out in the garden or the bush and look for what is being reflected back at me.
I look for insight as to what meaning I can give to whatever situation is occurring. I generally find a lesson in there somewhere.
Sometimes it’s a change in my perspective, and sometimes it’s a simple as distracting myself for a while and through that distance from the issue, I can often find a solution.
Not so easy this time. It’s taken a little while to understand what I’m experiencing.
Yeah – there’s all the ‘circle of life’ stuff.
Everyone and everything dies eventually. I get that.
I suppose I was looking for more about why I feel this way, year after year and always at the same time of year…oh, wait…
Might it be that this is now a ‘season’ in my life?
Too obvious, maybe? And nothing I haven’t already experienced and written about before
Diving into the season thing a little deeper though, I realise that I’m always fighting my emotions this time of year.
I resist them. I don’t WANT to feel sad. I don’t want to let those feelings out.
They mess with my life.
I find it difficult to focus and get stuff done (well, actually, that’s probably me most of the time if I’m honest) but it is worse this time of year.
I also start to get really hard on myself. Why haven’t I done this, or that? Life is short, and I’m wasting it…nag, nag, nag. No wonder I end up sick!
You know what?
Even seen a deciduous tree decide it’s not going to drop its leaves in winter?
(Ha! it says, after all the effort I’ve put into growing these leaves, you are MAD if you think I’m going to drop ‘em now just cos its getting cold. No friggin’ way!)
Or a rose determined its not gonna flower…
(Bugger that, the rose says, all that happens is some mongrel comes along with some sharp secateurs and lops my flowers off! )
Nor would you see birds or animals digging in their heels over when they are going to mate, or lay their eggs. They follow the seasons and do what they do, when the conditions are right. If they get it wrong, it could be disastrous.
So I figure that now I have a ‘season’, where all my emotions and memories bubble to the surface.
The ‘conditions’ are right for a period of sadness and grief.
I have 2 days ahead – one that would be a day of celebration, and another a day of irrevocable loss.
It’s almost like how you know winter is coming (Game of Thrones fans, you’ll understand). The days get shorter, the temperature drops, maybe it rains more. My feelings of sadness and doom are my shorter days and longer nights and distinct change in the weather.
Like winter, it doesn’t last for ever.
Oh, there will be the odd sadness and tears on any day of the year, most of them actually. Like the weather, grief is not always perfectly predictable. And that’s ok.
Maybe this year I will go with the flow.
Allow this ‘season’ to just be.
Allow the memories and sadness to be my signs of the change of season.
Stop fighting it.
It’s part of me now, after so long.
It’s become almost instinctual.
And like all seasons, it will pass, and then come around again next year.
Maybe this year, the season will be gentler and easier if I just allow it to come however it does.
Like how much rain we have, or how cold it gets, I don’t think I have that much control over it anyway.
‘Tis the season…