I just realized that I will turn 40 in exactly 2 weeks.
How did it creep up on me? I mean I knew it was coming – like 5 years ago, I knew it was on the horizon. But 2 weeks? Where did it all go? Somehow I always envisioned 40 as a big deal. A big party with friends and family. Lots of bright, happy wishes in the form of cards and tokens. A celebration.
Does that sound shallow?
It’s okay if it does, because I think everyone deserves to want something just for themselves. And as silly as it sounds, a big 40th birthday was my one big want. A throwback to the sweet 16 birthday party. (please don’t toliet paper my house…)Food and friends, music and cake and fun.
I couldn’t even begin to image wanting such a thing now. It sounds so cavalier to even put the words down, birthday party. I’m embarrassed to think I sound like a petulant child that didn’t get her way. When, in reality, wanting something so happy, so light and carefree, makes me sick to my stomach.
I think this is where I falter, trying to reconcile something so insignificant as a birthday party to the ache of my empty arms. I’m sure turning 40 really isn’t all that life–shattering – what’s another year?
Maybe it shouldn’t be so much life-shattering as life-changing. I feel the need to do something. To effect a change, alter my surroundings for the better. To contribute to the universe in some awe-inspiring way. Because in the end, day in and day out, I gravitate towards finding a Purpose in all this awfulness.
I associate losing Nathaniel with the loss of my painting. The one thing that defined Me. And not the Me that’s a mom, wife, friend, the Me that’s Amy, before I was anything to anyone else. I was an artist.
Since losing Nathaniel, I have stagnated. Idled away the time, waiting for something to happen. Sure, I was mom, wife, friend, caregiver, but I wasn’t really Amy during those years.
And now, something has happened. Something, dare I say, more than losing Nathaniel. I think losing David can be classified as more. More what? You might ask. More everything. I suppose like comparing living children, you shouldn’t really compare the degree of loss amongst your angel babies. But there is a difference, I feel a profound difference between the two.
Namely, losing Nathaniel caused me to cease my existence. To cease being the one thing that was embedded in every fiber of my being. I stopped painting. But painting isn’t really just about the act of brush stroke to canvas. Painting was a world, a lifestyle. Jobs, galleries, people, there’s a whole world of connections, inspirations, relationships, influence. A world I will never see come to fruition.
Losing David, on the other hand, makes me want to cease being less than my former self and become more. To become a better version of Me. Not really a better mother, wife, friend, although in theory I suppose that should follow. No, I want a better Amy. The conundrum is how? How does one take this grief and instead of losing more of myself, turn it into something positive?
I am struggling with this black hole of despair, struggling with the demons of guilt, regret and loss, all of them trying to control my head. I am struggling with the wanting to be more than I am and the sheer inability to function beyond simple day to day tasks.
I am struggling. Period.