Sometimes the Phoenix Doesn’t Rise

If I’ve learned anything at all since I started writing this blog it is just how human I truly am… and how much I hate that sometimes. I knew it was possible to become stuck in anger, to become bitter, to push life away but I never actually believed I’d go there. I looked at that potential even in the moment I understood that Dannica had died, and I told myself I’d never go there.

I used to be one who tried to make eye contact with people and smile for no reason, not only during the holidays, but especially during the holidays. I used to stand in the middle of a place and radiate light out in all directions, healing & well-being for all. I worked hard for a long time to get there, to love life, to release negativity in all its forms, to find my own happiness in life even when life kept being….well life….  a challenge.  The truth is, I have fought depression and social anxiety most of my life; maybe all of it. Sometimes, I have won. Sometimes, I’ve lost miserably. Sometimes, like this time, I’ve just given up. Too tired to fight it.  Too tired even to try.

I have become, once again, the ones I used to see and wonder about.  The ones that looked down or away.  The ones who’s hearts I wanted to reach with those free and carefree smiles of hope, love, acceptance and compassion.

In the beginning, fresh grief filled me with a fearlessness I’d never before known. Once I stopped screaming because my daughter had died, I kept on screaming at life, “BRING IT ON!!  YOU WANT SOME OF THIS!?  COME AND GET IT!” I wasn’t afraid of anything. I was angry and it was normal. It gave me strength. It gave me courage. I had nothing but faith in the resilience of the human spirit…. my human spirit.  I thought of myself as a phoenix and all I could focus on was rising even as almost everyone around me said, “Go slowly, be gentle with yourself.”

I didn’t go slowly and I wasn’t gentle with myself even when I thought I did and I was.  Instead, I went boldly into places, I can see now, I didn’t really belong and I made a fool of myself.   I learned that I’m not a public speaker.  I’m not cut out to be a teacher, though I really felt, somehow, I was.  In fact, at 45 years old, I’m not sure I’m cut out to be anything other than perfectly human.  I’ve given up on dreams. I’ve extinguished hopes.  I am alone in my own little world as often as I can be and most of the time I like it that way. At least I know what to expect from my own judgment and my own pain. It’s comfortable even when it hurts.

Could this be acceptance?

I don’t want this blog to be filled with negativity.  But I do want it to be filled with honesty and, when I can find it, truth.  I’m going to keep writing, even when I feel horrible, because writing gets it out of me.  I understand if that puts you off, if you’d rather avoid the negativity altogether.  Life is hard enough without someone else’s negativity.  For this reason, I don’t watch the news, I read my local paper only selectively, and I have even ended seemingly good friendships when I felt the person never had anything positive to say.  So I *do* understand why I’ve lost contact with many people I thought were friends since my daughter’s death.  I realize that I am depressed.  With that comes negativity.  I do my best not to dwell there when I am with others.  But I’m only as strong as I am and a lot of the time I’m exhausted, I’m grumpy, God help you if you cut me off in traffic or say something stupid to my face.  And I *hate* feeling this way!!!

For now, the phoenix is down.  No sign of rising.  None. Unless you cut me off or say something stupid.  Please, know I am genuinely sorry.  I am.

5 thoughts on “Sometimes the Phoenix Doesn’t Rise

  1. To be honest, I think you are now at the most normal and natural place you could possibly be considering that the life you once had is gone along with your most beautiful daughter. Somehow our new challenge is learning how to keep on going in the face of the most devastating loss possible. I have no idea how to reach a place where I might at least feel at peace, even if I don’t experience joy. But I do know that there is a community of other parents who unfortunately understand and are on a similar journey. None of us want to be a part of the “club”, but we have no choice and at least we have the ability to connect with and support each other. All of us who read your blog are here to support you.

  2. I agree with your other commenters…it’s “ok” to be where you are. And those of us who have suffered deep loss can relate, and we support you with our hearts. Though I truly wish I could do more…

  3. You’ve no need to be sorry, none at all. We’ve been through severe trauma – I’m down much of the time, too. I also can’t read the paper, follow the “world” along. I’m not interested, and I cannot stand the arguing – the political arguing, the social arguing, on and on as if somebody could ever win. It’s the same stuff over and over. All my work is how to live with Philip’s death. How to love my daughter in the face of it, how to take the next step, the next breath.

    Thinking of you and hoping you know that while there’s a place in you that will always be lonely for Dannica, you’re not alone.

  4. I applaud that you are continuing to keep on writing, even though you are feeling so understandably depressed. Sending along good thoughts for a moment or two of less pain. ❤

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