As silly as it sounds, I am grateful for every bout of depression I experience. When I come back out of the dark, the light is so much brighter and I am ten times as grateful for each happy moment. Although I said I allow myself to be depressed, I do not allow myself to stay there. I am always searching for a way to win the fight.
I wrote the following two entries in my journal this last month. I am sharing them with you now because I wanted to give you an example of how I was feeling and how I fought my way through the shadows.
It takes nine months to nourish a fetus into a human. Nine months that are full of exciting new developments. I always thought the nine months of pregnancy were the longest. It seemed like it took forever for my babies to be ready to meet the world.
It has now been nine months since Noelle has been gone. Nine terrible long months. It still doesn't seem real. I don't know why this nine month anniversary is hitting me so hard. Maybe it is because I know in three short months it will have been a year and right now I can say, "this time last year, we were laughing because Noelle's graduation announcements were misprinted."
After June 5, there are no new memories to be made. I will have had a year with no new memories. The no new memories scares me. It is heartbreaking...the no new memories.
At this time last year, our lives were full of excitement-getting ready for prom, graduation, college. So many things to look forward to and be happy about. Now all I can think is...if I had only known...if I had only known I would only have her for three more months. She should have lived. She should be at OU right now, just a few short hours from me...not a lifetime away.
And then this journal entry, when I was trying to figure out just what the fuck grief is and what it meant to me:
Grief is...a long winding road on a foggy morning
anger turned inward
a bottle of wine and no one to talk to
dark shadows and no light
a knot in the pit of my stomach
a dirty house and no food in the refrigerator
memories that play over and over
the distant sound of laughter, but you are too far away to hear the joke
sleepless nights and days of sleeping
lies you tell yourself
a shadow...always a few steps behind me...just waiting for a chance to swallow me up
your voice...heard in the echo's of my heartbeat
not having an answer to why you are gone
Grief is lonely...
Grief is ME...
But in the mist of all the depression and grief, I realized that the opposite of grief is gratitude.
I had identified my grief, now I needed to name my gratitude. Yin and Yang, you have to have both.
I am a visual person, in order to really feel grateful, I needed a reminder I could see on a daily basis. So I made a gratitude tree.
This is not your typical gratitude tree. I started this project thinking I would list all the things I am grateful for, but then realized for it to truly work, I would need things to make me laugh...things to empower me...and in that I would feel grateful. This tree is by no means a "cure all" for my depression or bad moods, but it is a reminder that there is hope, there is laughter, there is strength, there is love...there is tomorrow. And tomorrow is a new day.
She’s been through hell and came out an angel.
You didn’t break her, Darling. You don’t own
That kind of power.
laughing with your daughter.
Confidence is being able to say, ‘Fuck you,
I’m the shit’ without opening your mouth:
Say it with your walk, with your smile, say it with
Your entire being.
The day I broke up with normal was the first
Day of my magical life.
You are STRONG, you are AMAZING, you are
UNIQUE, you are BEAUTIFUL, you are IMPORTANT
You are ENOUGH, YOU ARE LOVED!
The world is full of good people, if you can’t
Find one…be one.
Your lack of swearing makes me FUCKING
You either get bitter or you get better.
And then she decided…
To walk through her life carrying a light
Load, letting go of all that weighed her
Heart and mind down, wearing a smile, a frock
And funky accessories.
Trust yourself…You’ve survived a lot and you’ll
Survive whatever is coming.
Today is the perfect day to manifest the SHIT
Out of some ABUNDANCE!
You were GIVEN this LIFE because you are
STRONG enough to LIVE it.
Always leave people better than you found them.
Hug the hurt. Kiss the broken.
Befriend the lost.
Love the lonely.
On the bright side, I am not addicted to cocaine.
Find what you love and let it kill you.
As far as I know, I am delightful.
To dance gracelessly without particular
Art or skill, but perhaps with some
Everything you want is on the other
Side of fear.
You are never too old to set another
Goal or to DREAM a new DREAM.
I’m not lost, I’m on my way.
You know all those things you’ve
Always wanted to do?
You should DO THEM!
I don’t really have a plan, most days.
Just caffeine and weirdness, my friend,
Caffeine and weirdness.
For we walk by faith not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7
Forgive them anyway.
~ Mother Teresa
If you can’t handle me at my worst…
I don’t blame you-that shit is ridiculous!
I try not to judge because I’m quite screwed
When I’m feeling
a little low,
I put on my favorite
To stand a little taller.
I think it’s time to
Be happy again.
I took it off.
I did not want
To carry it
With me anymore.
Do not let the world
Make you hard.
Do the best you can
Until you know better.
Then when you know better,
LIVE TODAY IN ALL CAPS!
What if I fall?
Oh, buy my darling…
What if you fly?
Don’t be like the rest
Of them, Darling.
She packed up her potential
And all she had learned
Grabbed a cute pair of shoes
And headed out to
Change a few things.
; your story isn’t over yet.
And though she be but little,
She is fierce.
Do not go where
The path may lead,
Go instead where there
Is no path and leave a trail.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve been through it all,
Baby, I’m mother courage.
Dance your life…
…you are the music.
I carry your
(I carry it in
I don’t know
It won’t be
So she did
Speak the truth,
Whatever you are,
Be a GOOD one…
It all in.
It all out.
Life is a beautiful struggle.
Keep your Head
Heels & Standards
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.