Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Season of Struggle

I didn’t write yesterday. And I felt bad about it. But I had been wallowing down in the sadness pretty much all day and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. At one point, I had said to myself that writing every day would be one way to keep Hudson close, to keep my connection to her strong. I am realizing as the days go on that she is always right here with me. I don’t have to write every day to make that happen. And to expect myself to just opens the door to more guilt that I can’t handle on days when I just can’t find it in myself to write.

Yesterday, I began to realize why fall is hitting me so hard. We’ve lived an entire season without Hudson. This week and next, my three guilty pleasure shows are airing their premieres (the fourth, Grey’s Anatomy, is one I will never be able to watch again). Their finales aired in the spring the same week Hudson died. A whole season has passed. A new season is starting. And she is not here.

And I realized that one of the reasons I’ve always loved fall is because it is prologue to the holidays. As the air turns cool and crisp, thoughts of pumpkins, stuffing, and yes, even Christmas trees, begin to take shape. I’ve never been a huge Halloween fanatic, but last year I got a sense for the first time of how much fun it could be, how much fun it would be, with Hudson. This year, I will have to sit by and watch as all her little friends dress up in their costumes, go to parties and pumpkin patches and hayrides, maybe trick-or-treat for the first time. And I will have to think about how much she is missing. How much we are missing. It is just so wrong.

And for as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving and Christmas have been my favorite times of year—they are my seasons of love. Last year, I had the best Thanksgiving and Christmas of my entire life, celebrating Hudson’s birthday in between and introducing my favorite holiday traditions to my sweet girl and looking forward to so many more as she got older. This year will be the worst Thanksgiving and Christmas of my entire life, even worse than 2002, the year I spent those holidays helping my mother die peacefully. This year I will have to pass my favorite holidays without my child. I will have to celebrate her birthday without her. I will have to watch her cousins open their presents when my girl never will again.  For someone who loves the holidays as much as I do, it is awful to dread them instead of look forward to them.

It is incredibly difficult to be a passionate person and yet not care about a goddamned thing. The seasons change, days march forward, new jobs begin, and none of it matters at all. No matter how much I want to care, I just don’t.


  1. Your post breaks my heart :( I know in my heart things will matter to you again...and you will care day. Give yourself time to get there, and don't beat yourself up over it right now. It is perfectly acceptable to not care right now...I mean, how could you? If I ever find myself in your and Ed's place one day, I can imagine that I would't care about a thing either.

    I am sorry you are going to have to face your favorite time of the year without sweet Hudson. My heart breaks for you all over again, imagining how the season's changing brings you so much pain and grief.

    I wish I could do or say something to ease your pain, but I know I can't bring Hudson just know that you are loved and thought of often.

  2. oh, the last paragraph

    oh dear

    I've only felt that way when I was very (clinically) depressed).

    I'm so sorry.

  3. I'm so sorry. It is (again) so unfair. I know, too, that someday you will find something again that matters-- if only we could fast-forward to that moment.

  4. Oh, Mandy, of course you find yourself not caring. The only thing in the world that you want is impossible, and that is an enormous weight of sorrow and pain. I don't know, because I cannot, how you feel. I do know that from the view of a much older person, you have many happy days ahead again in your life. They will be a "different" happy from what you had dreamed of, but happy still. But right now? Nobody could blame you for finding that hard to believe.
    I have no words of wisdom, only sincere wishes for peace.

  5. Mandy,
    Please try not to be too hard on yourself or think too far ahead. I've been thinking about you so much since you posted about your hopes for the Fall. Everything is different now, as hard as it is to accept, and you only have to accept as much or as little as you can.

    I've found that the anticipation of holidays, birthdays and anniversaries since Jordan died have been more emotionally taxing than the actual events. I'm just realizing and accepting that fact and it will be 3 years in October since Jordan died(still so hard to write and say). Please be gentle with yourself.

    You're right, these will probably be the worse holidays you've experienced. How could it really be otherwise? Please don't put pressure on yourself. This year you and your husband may say no to many invitations or bow out of family gatherings because it hurts too much. Traditions that were once comforting now have to be evaluated on an individual basis. You and your husband have to take care of each other. That's what your family and friends want for you too.

    The one thing I've had to say to myself when I find my mind swirling ahead and getting anxious about all the times ahead without my beloved child, is to take a breath (literally) and say to myself, usually out loud, "Just do this day." Take things day by day and if that's too hard, just breath by breath. You have been traumatized and are in the midst of the most powerful grief and sorrow. Be good to yourself.

  6. Not giving-a-good-goddamn about anything is a very passionate (and southern, if you don't mind my saying so) expression of indigance towards helplessness.

    Life is hard. We say, "Life is short" when we got it so good we think that we might miss something. We say "Life is long" when, well, here we are.

    We gotta breathe, gotta eat, gotta go to work, gotta try to sleep wired, gotta struggle tired, gotta grow new skin, lose it again, gotta figure it out, gotta get some relief, gotta live with doubt until belief returns.

    Winter has come to you early this year. Hibernate. That's what bears do when there's nothing to be had. That's what turtles do too.

    I love you Manda-panda.

  7. Mandy, it's OK not to care right now. Maybe that is your mind's way of allowing you to focus on your grief, process the loss, and begin to heal. In times of struggle it is OK to cut out all the distractions and focus on the task at hand, which is simply to get through each day, one day at a time. That's all you need to do right now. The passion you once felt is part of you and while it may be dormant for a while, it is not gone.

    My heart goes out to you.

  8. Yup, the holidays suck when you are grieving a child. And the first year without your child is probably the hardest as you mark all the firsts without her.

    It's ok to bow out of Thanksgiving and Christmas and go on vacation and say F.U. to the world this year. But know that next year will be better. That's the only positive spin on feeling like sh*& can only go up from there. Hugs, Mandy.

  9. 12/24/2006
    My sweet Desmond has comforted me today. He hugged my knees and said, "I’ll help you cry”. Joe, we went through the motions today, numb by your absence. Merry Christmas, sweetheart.

    Mandy, this is my journal entry on the first Christmas Eve after my son's death. It's part of the long journey and my wish for you is that you feel the love and desire of those around you to help you cry. Your friends are right when they encourage you to take days, sometimes hours, one at the time...

    Helen Jordan Lewis
    Asheville NC

  10. Thinking of you, Mandy. And wishing you comfort and peace.

  11. This post brings me back to the fun we all had last year at the St. Ann's Halloween party -- how we were all thrown for a loop when they announced the costumes had to be homemade! The pictures we took of the kids on the couch, followed by the group shot at the Menkitis' house are frozen in my mind. Then, of course, the first birthday parties that started for us with Hudson's -- especially the unforgettable scene of Hudson eating her cake. How you exuded love and joy in your parenting! How unfair that a future of many more such events has been taken away. It's impossible to give comfort, I fear, the loss being so great.