Apr 15, 201110:38 AM
Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans
It’s hard getting back to real life after catastrophe. It’s funny what seems like a real triumph: I made dinner for my daughter. I slept alone in my apartment. I laughed out loud at something.
I don’t want to play the poor, poor pitiful me card, but jeez, it’s been a rough year. I lost my sister. I got divorced. My daughter’s best friend was diagnosed with leukemia. My best friend drowned.
There was a winter in Missouri one year where the snow just wouldn’t let up. Every time we would have a warm day, the snow would start to melt, but two days later, the temperature would plummet, and it would harden into ice, and then more snow would fall and cover it up. The first snow of the season had seemed pretty; by April, I was completely defeated by it. I just got tired of digging out from under it. I had the sense that one more heavy snowfall might break me completely.
That’s how this year feels: Loss is part of life, pain is part of loving someone; I get that, and I know it’s worth it. But I feel like I’ve dug myself out from under grief so many times this year, and I’m running out of energy.
There was joy this year, too, don’t get me wrong: My daughter is learning to read; her face lights up when she recognizes a new word. My best friend Amy had a beautiful baby girl, and I got to hold her on my chest and watch her sleep. Friends got engaged, got married.
But this time a year ago, I didn’t know the peculiar feeling of cremains clinging to my fingers, the shivery queasiness that shot through me when I felt a sharp sliver of bone. A year ago, Jim and I walked around at Jazz Fest and split crawfish bread and sat in the gospel tent, sweaty and sunburned and very much alive. A year ago, when I filed my taxes, I was part of a family, married with a child; this year, I filed as “single.” A year ago, Mia was healthy.
I don’t mean to sound like a huge disaster. Out of the past 365 days, many – if not most – have been happy. I know I’m lucky. And even on the days that weren’t happy, I was still functional. I made coffee. I did laundry. I read bedtime stories. I did my work. I cooked dinner. I went to the zoo. I wore my seat belt. I tried to be a good friend and a good mom and a good daughter.
I truly don’t think my life is that hard; I’m just weary right now.
But that winter in Missouri, just when I thought so much as one more single snowflake might cause me to snap, spring came. There were Bradford pear blossoms and warm breezes and bright green absolutely everywhere. Every winter, I knew if I could make it to Easter, I was going to be OK.
So this spring, as I try to shovel out from under this latest wave of grief, try to get back to normal, I am hoping, as always, that Easter will bring peace and relief and renewal.
I wish the same to all of you. Happy Easter. Happy spring.