My head is pounding, my stomach is churning, my heart is racing. I keep wiping my sweaty hands on my jeans and hoping that when I see you, you wont be able to see the guilt cloud I’m trapped in. I didn’t want to hurt you. I didn’t mean to say those things. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. I mean, I know I wasn’t a very good friend to you then; Maybe I am not a good friend now. I should have played dress up instead of watching princess and the frog for the 5th time. I should have been better, I should have done more. I shouldn’t have let something trivial end our friendship, I should have visited more. I should have apologized more often, or sooner. I should have let you come to that thing. I should have come when you asked. I shouldn’t have lied.
I am sorry.
That’s me, practically always. Whether it’s to do with the past, the present or the future If I am not anxious I’m guilt ridden and if i’m not guilt ridden I’m probably asleep.
Since I can remember I have had such a high level of guilt. Whether it was something within my control or something that had nothing to do with me, I would feel terrible; I do feel terrible.
So when I have something to actually feel guilty about it eats me from the inside out.
As my sweet Lilee-Jean’s birthday approaches, I have been getting that feeling of suffocation again. The one where I feel like I’m being pummeled by guilt and anxiety and pain and anger and fear and disappointment and self-doubt from every angle, hitting every inch of my body. I feel broken and bruised. I’m pretty good at finding something that I think would honour her well, something she would enjoy like an adventure to take her on, words to say, a song to sing, or a post to post. But as this date draws near. all I can think is: I’m sorry.
All I can feel is guilt and pain.
All I can see is the dark void that was left when she died.
Nothing I think to do is the right thing. Nothing I think to say is good enough.
There is nothing that I can think of that will lift this weight off of my chest and finally let me breathe.
Nothing… except for her.
I’m no angel. At one point I have been a shitty friend, I have been a shitty daughter and unfortunately I have been a shitty mom. The thing is, I can make it up to my friends, I can make it up to my parents, but because Lilee was snatched away from me I can not make it up to her. And at times like these no matter how hard I try, it’s the worst days, not the best, that fill my mind. All the things I should have done, the words I should have said instead of the words I did say, the lazy days, the days I spent away from her, the days I got angry and the days I got frustrated when she wouldn’t sleep. I dwell on the days when I was too occupied with all the bullshit bombarding my phone and the fights that took me away from her whether it was my mind or my physical body. It’s the arguments and situations she should have never witnessed but did, because I am human, because I am flawed, that keep me from sleeping.
This week, I just can’t shake it. I do not have the validation of waking up to a happy, healthy, loved and loving little girl. I don’t have the chance to spoil her rotten one day for absolutely no reason, make her laugh a little harder, or let her have one extra chocolate kiss. I wake up, she is gone, and my two and a half years worth of memories are clouded by the darkness of guilt, longing and hopelessness.
I think sometimes when grieving publicly, we try to sugar coat it. We try to say “he would have wanted me to..” “She would have loved this.” “Shes watching from above” “in doing ______ I felt closer to him then I ever felt.”
“Although I am sad… etc etc… this is honouring her memory.” and I think that is amazing because A) we can’t walk around like depression zombies all day every day and B) I’m sure our loved ones would want us to live life, to honour them, to eat that cupcake, to climb that mountain and to watch that movie. But grief is complete shit. And there are going to be times when we should be honouring (like on a birthday) but we can’t. We just can not muster the energy to make it happen. There are going to be times when it doesn’t matter how good the good was or how strong the love was, the selfish “I WANT THEM BACK” is going to be forefront and in control.
When I write, I try not to romanticize my pain but I sometimes look back and go UGH BARF!! ITS NOT OKAY> STOP TRYING TO SAY ITS OKAY because it’s never okay. Sometimes I want to make something beautiful out of something tragic but sometimes, like now, like this week, I don’t want to do anything at all. I want tragedy to show its true, terrifying, ugly face. I want it to be exactly how it is, not how I want the world to see it and not try and convince myself that I can use the lessons she taught me to change people’s lives or to enrich my own. I want it to be the messy, dark, shit show that it is and not apologize or feel guilty for not trying to make others feel better about it. and I want it to be mine. All mine.
I am sorry. I can’t give hope to the hopeless today. I can’t shine a light into someones darkness this week. I am sorry, I can’t make you laugh and I can’t make you proud. I am sorry you wont respond to this and tell me I’m inspiring because there is nothing inspiring about this. and I’ll feel guilty about all that too.
Today, grief won and it probably will tomorrow too. And each day when I look down and remember my perfect belly with a wiggling, dancing little peanut inside of it, grief will win. Although the 5th of December, 2010 was the best damn day of my life, although, this year, it will be a day full of her favourite things, some Christmas cheer and some champagne for my would-be 5 year old’s champagne birthday, grief will win that day too. Because my positivity tank is empty, my well of sunshine and rainbows is dry, my dancing in the rain legs are tired and my mama-without-a-child’s heart is broken. Grief will, inarguably, win.
But then… like I always do, I’ll spend hours, days, weeks, and I will gather up those pieces and haphazardly stick them back together until I’ve assembled something that resembles a heart. I’ll fill up that tank, I’ll dig a new well, and I’ll shake out those legs. Because she’d want me to. Because it’s okay for grief to win sometimes. Because making something beautiful out of something tragic is the most important lesson she ever taught me.
Because I have to.
Because I love her.