It's been slightly over a month since my niece died in a car accident. She was only 31; she would have turned 32 next week. Her three wonderful children have been collectively hugged not only by family and friends, but the Minnesota Vikings as well. I have new respect for the team; I may even cheer for them sometimes.
The past month has been extremely hard for all of us. My niece's husband, kids, parents, godparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so many friends struggle to understand and deal with the pain and the immediacy of it all. My heart aches for my loss; my niece, my favorite hairdresser, my go-to Mom for advice, and my friend. My heart breaks for my sister-in-law and my other niece and nephew and my great nieces and great nephew. I don't know how they go on day-to-day; I really don't. I admire the strength that people find to keep working and keep living.
Maybe that's the key, to keep on living. I had it rough for a couple weeks. I lost my focus. I could barely spend 20 minutes doing one task. I cried at everything; I cried at nothing. I felt I was losing myself to the grief.
I have a history of depression, which has been quite severe at times. I felt myself starting to fall into that abyss, or as someone I love said, into that prison in my head. I wanted to stay home, wrapped up in my son and my sofa.
I can't pinpoint the exact time I started to feel better, more like myself. It wasn't as if a switch was turned and I was or am now happy. I still cry easily. I still miss her so very much. I still ache. But, I continue to live. To be the good mom for RT and a good wife for Roger. And a shoulder for Elise and Cassie and whomever. It isn't great, but it is life for right now.
As the weather turns colder and winter and the holidays are knocking on the door, I know this will not be an easy time. I give myself permission to have bad days and take care of myself. And, I also give myself permission to enjoy life when I can. It might be the little things or the big things, but I'll keep going, the best I can, struggling along.