Grief cannot always be predicted and calculated. I have mentioned before that it comes in cycles and often comes to visit when you least expect it. May has been a month where I am experiencing a heaviness in my heart. I have been feeling sad, angry, and anxious. I have not slept well either.
I discovered significant dates in May that bring up sadness for me. First, mom passed away seven years ago on May 12th. Time has lessened the grief, but it still comes. I read that this feeling is called an anniversary reaction. The date reminds you of a person that has been important in your life. It does not mean you have unprocessed grief.
Second, Mother’s Day is in May. This holiday is an emotional box of chocolates, and my family never knows what they are going to get. This year I was sad and lonely. It was a few days before my foot surgery, and I was in quarantine at home. Todd slept in and did not hear Emily or the dogs. I was up at 5 am caring for the pets and a cranky princess. I spent a good part of the day sitting with my feelings. My ideal day is my family showering me with love and then leaving me alone. It also reminds me that my mom is not here to spoil and shower with love.
Finally, May 31st is Todd’s birthday. Three years ago, Todd was hospitalized due to his depression on his birthday. As the anniversary approaches, the anger, sadness, and pain is still very fresh. When Todd was admitted, I realized I was in survival mode. I was figuring out how to care for Emily alone. I was juggling caregiving, work, insurance authorizations, finances. I remember being stressed and overwhelmed. I realized that I have unprocessed grief to address. Now I will begin the work that needs to be done and extend grace to myself in the meantime.
Note: For more information on grief cycles and anniversaries, please check out this great article from the Mayo clinic. It includes a list of emotions to expect when grief returns, along with some great tools and suggestions to use when it does.