My mother’s anniversary is coming up tomorrow. And if you know anything about me, you know that anniversaries and I have some issues. They can be very difficult for me to get through and I must mark them in some fashion. And I have always been this way, since I was a little kid. I tend to display a lot of sign of anxiety via sleeplessness and being super cranky. But then today, out of the blue, I was completely overwhelmed and it was awful.
It was late afternoon/early evening. I was enjoying some time out in the pool with my canine friend for whom I am dogsitting. We were just coming inside and I went up to shower the chlorine off of me and suddenly couldn’t breathe. I had a total meltdown in the shower, gasping for breath and crying super hard. I just had to ride the waves and let it all out.
That hasn’t happened to me in a very long time. I’m sure a lot of it is due to the impending anniversary. And the second one is always harder than the first. That first one, you’re just trying to get used to the fact that person is no longer there and ticking off all of the firsts without – first birthday, first graduation, first holiday, etc. And then that second year it is more real, though a bit more familiar.
Plus I’m not sure how much I was really able to grieve that first year. Not only had I lost my mom, but two aunts from opposite sides of the family both died in one weekend at the end of that month. So it was a triple whammy in just about three weeks. Plus 2018 was the year of tremendous loss for me. I think I counted 14 deaths? It was ridiculous to the point that my friends were starting to jokingly call me the Angel of Death. (Which I thought was funny until one of my former students took his own life that fall. Then I made them stop.)
I had also been extremely sick while my mother was in hospice. In fact, I spent a week in the hospital with an antibiotic-resistant infection from a bug bite (and honestly could have died, it was so bad) before I managed to make it back to spend her last couple of days with her. So I was also dealing with that. (And still am, to an extent.)
I’ve been working harder this past year to process it all more, being an adult orphan and all of that fun stuff. Perhaps that is why it hit my so much harder. Maybe I have left too much of it bottled up, which is not usually my style. Maybe the exhaustion of COVID, etc., was finally catching up to me and I hit the breaking point. I don’t know. I do know that I do feel better now, though, that I let it out.