Friday, December 9, 2016

Sometimes things just suck

Oh, I am in a mood.

Looked at objectively, things aren't bad. I have work I love that pays my bills, most of the time anyway. I am in a relationship with a sweet, smart man who loves me more than I often think I deserve. I have family and friends who care about me. I am generally healthy, my needs are met and I really don't have anything to complain about.

Not that this will stop me. Does it every really stop anyone?

I miss Kevin ferociously. The loss is tearing at me. All I want to do is curl up, watch tv, eat. I am numbing myself in any way I reasonably can. Part of this is the uncertain future, some because we are in the dark time of the year and I've always had a touch of seasonal affective stuff, but more of it is that it is the holiday season and Kevin is gone.

This mood is manifesting in some interesting ways. I have a stronger flinch response than usual. I feel terribly needy, craving assurance at every turn. I'm incredibly tired despite sleeping more than enough. I'm clumsy and find I need to be much more mindful of where I am physically. I'm having some truly epic nightmares. Each of these symptoms tells me that I'm grieving more actively than usual, even though they are different from symptoms I've experienced before. I know it comes in waves and I know this will pass. Right now it just feels crummy.

I've been hesitant to give voice to this because I'm tired of listening to myself whine. Part of me has bought the idea that I should be okay, that I should be able to handle this myself. None of that is true. At the best of times we need support and help, humans don't thrive in vacuums. During harder times we need the support even more, but that can be when it's hardest to ask.

I think I've also been hesitant to name these feelings because that makes it more real. It also means that I will have to contend with some well-meaning but poorly executed support. Someone told me yesterday to cheer up because it was Christmas and no one should be sad at Christmas time, it's Christ's birthday! I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing. I thought a lot of things; you don't know me or what's going on, I'm Jewish, politics... I said nothing. I kept my mouth shut and reminded myself that she was well-intended.

So what helps when I feel this way? Naming it. Owning it. Saying to myself and the world that yes, my life is rich and yes, right now things suck, that helps. Asking for a bit of latitude helps. Reminding myself that I am not alone helps.

I have been rereading some of my writing over the last almost three years (that alone is a spear in my side) and that helps too. Reminding myself that I have survived this far. Reminding myself that these feelings come in wave and the only way out is through. Reminding myself that Kevin was and is in my heart. Reminding myself that, above all, I am so lucky to have loved and been loved so well.

With this in mind, I can truly remember that things aren't that bad even if they feel awful in this moment. I have work and love and family and health. This sorrow is the price I willingly pay for the radiant love I have experienced and am experiencing.

May all of our holidays show us the light in the darkness, even when the dark threatens to overwhelm us.

(c)2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Your detailed descriptions of your powerful emotions at this time of the year may have just helped someone feel not alone in their struggle, not weird for feeling overwhelmed and sad. We all have unrealistic expectations for this time of year, Christian and Jew. I need these reminders to see the light, all year long but dark and cold days make the need more clear.Bless you for writing, bless you in this season.

    1. And I hit publish accidentally. I hope the coming year showers blessings upon you.

  2. Hi Laura, I miss your insightful blogs on Widownet, but I am glad to see that your in a place that doesn't bring you to it as often anymore. Good for you, you've got more guts than I do. The thought of having someone else in my life terrifies me and it's an idea I cant and wont entertain. No matter how good things are for you and I am happy to see that they are, whats gone will always be with you. And thats ok, love doesnt die- it's what has made you you. Be well. Come and see us from time to time. I miss your blogs and I pray for your continued good fortune. All the best
    Karen Mooney

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thank you for checking in. I had been posting there regularly but received a private message from someone who thought I was being exploitative, so I stopped. I can continue if you think it would be okay.

      Sometimes I am very uncomfortable with having someone else in my life, but he is a good man and very patient. he understands that Kevin will ALWAYS be a part of my life.

      Sending good thoughts your way.


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