Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the accident. Tomorrow I'll post pictures of our family celebrating Jeanne and Mike's lives. Moving forward and remembering in a positive way.
Today, though, the day before it just hurts. I feel awful and no amount of distraction eases the pain.
My body anticipates the horror of reliving October 24, 2009. Three years later it is still unbelievable and physically makes me nauseous.
This past weekend the girls went to Indiana for their cousin's wedding. As I explained earlier, the Indiana relatives did not roll out the red carpet for the girls. M was a mess leaving. Sobbing the night before that she didn't want to go and that she couldn't leave us. E texted me non-stop from the moment I dropped them off at CA's before their flight complaining about how embarrassing and awful CA and KM were. She has since claimed it was the worst weekend of her life, except for the 1.5 hours CA and KM weren't around. M and the little girls seemed to have fun.
Having the girls gone was a mixed bag. As a family, K and the boys and I fall back into our old rhythms very easily. The guilt resulting from this feels awful. I also worried about M and how she would deal with everything. Combined with recent stress with K's health and the impending anniversary, I was an emotional mess. I spent most of Saturday trying to find times to sleep. Not because I was that tired, but for the escape. Rather than relish in the moment and be with the boys, I gave in to the culminated stress.
E left me with a lovely parting gift before she left for Indiana. Thursday at therapy she must have done an exercise in which she wrote her parents a letter. The lettering was in different crayon colors. She left it out in the open for all to see. I at first thought was something that D had done given the colored lettering and the "Dear Mom and Dad" at the top. I soon realized what it was and my eyes travelled to text towards the end.
"I miss your dinners Mom. Aunt Peggy is a terrible cook. She doesn't even make homemade cookies. She always leaves the dinner table a mess."
Wow. A punch in the stomach. On so many levels I realize that she is just a hurting child and not to take it so personally. It's not really the comments themselves, it's that she decided to lash out at me when I'm already so stressed about K. She left it out for me to see. It was simply mean. On a humorous note, in the 17 years we have been married, I usually make dinner and K always cleans up. Because of our schedule and his male priorities, sometimes the kitchen table doesn't get cleaned up right away, but eventually gets done.
I left it on her desk. I fielded her texts all weekend and reassured her I'm still here. I'm listening. I'm not going anywhere.
As chief logistician around here I bear the weight of our family life and responsibilities on my shoulders. School, sports, food, laundry, etc. fall squarely in my lane. It dawned on me today, though, that it's not just this weight that has worn me down these past few years.
I absorb the stress and pain of everyone in the house. The girls lash out and I absorb their blows and move on. I worry about all the kids. I want to rip the pain and anxiety from their bodies and cleave it to mine. I'm an adult. I can handle it. In an irrational way, I feel totally responsible for their anxiety and fears caused by the accident.
My own grief stays buried beneath. Sometimes I think it's easier to keep it right where it is with the excuse of needing to be strong for everyone else. This does have physical repercussions. Stomach and sleep issues. My hives have come back the past few days. I can't imagine how awful I'd feel if I wasn't taking any medication.
Three years later it still sucks. The pain is still raw and fresh. I miss my sister. I feel lucky to have this space to express these feelings. In real life, I'm just not ready to go there yet.