I am right in the middle of the tough part.
Saturday night my husband and my sister threw me a wonderful party. It was seriously everything I could have wanted in a 40th birthday party. We had so much fun. I read a story about Sue aloud and dedicated a song to her and everybody danced (I'll share that story in a later post). I really felt great. Somewhere deep inside I think I believed that if I had the most fun party ever, I wouldn't end up feeling down about Sue.
I should know by now that it doesn't work that way.
Today is the day before my actual birthday. Today, one year ago, I spent the day with Sue. I remember that I left her house that night at 7:00, and told her I'd see her the next day. I had planned to show up at noon. Instead I was there at 8:30 am, because she had already passed away. It was the worst day of my life.
I wanted to try to document how this feels, the emotions of the anniversary of her death and also my birthday rolled into one. The best way I can describe it is to say it is like a gigantic roller coaster. Saturday night I was at the very top, SO happy and SO grateful. Then on Sunday I started on a downward ride that has left me where I am now, which is at the bottom.
It took just about everything I had to get out of bed this morning. I am in the depths of intense grief, to the point that I've wondered if all of the work and growth I've experienced this past year has just vanished. I've wondered if this anniversary is putting me right back at square one. It is intense.
Tomorrow I will be 40. Tomorrow my sister will have been gone for one year. She never got to know me in my 40s. I never wanted to be a person writing a blog about grief. I never wanted my birthday to also be the anniversary of the worst day of my life. I never got to choose. I also would never wish this particular birthday/death anniversary of a treasured loved one combination on anyone. It is hard to explain how difficult and painful it is. I wish this had never happened and that I was back to being the person I used to be, the person who had two wonderful older sisters instead of one.
I knew this would be hard, but I didn't know that it would be knock-me-down-sucker-punch-in-the-gut hard.
But here's what I need to do (and it's simple really): keep going. I just need to keep getting up, keep taking my next breath, keep taking care of my kids. And I will, because it's what I do. I keep trying and keep working at making it through.
But it is so, so hard.