Last weekend I skipped my cousin’s daughter’s first birthday party. It just seemed overwhelming to watch her open her presents and try cake for the first time. But it makes me angry. I’m upset that going to her party would hurt too much. I’m mad they offered to skip Thanksgiving—but not mad at them. They are sweet, wonderful people who are trying to protect me, do what’s best for Joe and me. No, I’m mad that seeing their beautiful little girl does hurt —that seeing any little girl hurts. I want to be a part of her life. I want to be able to enjoy all the babies in my life. But I know it’s going to rip at my broken heart a little more. It will be a delicate balance over the holidays. A huge part of me wants to run away and not participate in any part of them. But there’s the other side: the side that knows our family has lost so much. So many of our loved ones are gone and we need to cling to those that are still here.
There are days I want to hide from the world. Days like today. I am trying to participate in life, but I am also setting limits. The birthday party would have been too much, but I want my cousin and his family at Thanksgiving. I skipped a fun event at work today. But I taught my class at the Y. I know the coming days and weeks will put an extra strain on both Joe and me. It was a year ago that we confirmed Zoey’s diagnosis. And it will be the first time we have to get through the holidays when we know she should be here with us. There will be events we join and some we skip. I hope everyone has patience and understands. I hope everyone knows that I really am trying. I hope they know I’m not angry at them. That there’s just only so much my heart can handle at the moment. I will get stronger. I will join in the world a little more often. Find more joy again, little by little.