I spent several hours on Friday with three of my brother’s granddaughters. It was wonderful. To have a small child swarm confindently into my lap, to have her try to ‘help’ with my crochet and tangle up the yarn, and to have her keep bringing me grapes I didn’t want, handing them to me one by one and making sure I ate them all – it was all so familiar. Devon and Ian always wanted to help with whatever I was doing. Ian was particularly good at tangling up yarn…even better than the cat. Devon liked to hand me my pills one by one to make sure I took them all. He worried about me and took that duty very seriously. Ian always took the opportunity to get out the little ladybug I carry in my pill organizer and ‘wake it up’. He really liked ladybugs. One of the little girls took the dog’s ladybug squeeky toy and put it in a basket, making sure to give it something to eat and a book to read. It’s what Ian would have done. I really felt like a grandmother again for just a few hours. It was such a glorious feeling.
But, of course, they were only borrowed. I didn’t get to keep them. They weren’t my grandchildren. My beautiful grandchildren are at Rose Hills and will never crawl up on my lap or tangle my yarn again. There are times when I really don’t know how to keep going in the face of that. They are gone and my heart is broken. I’ve tried so hard, even on days that want to crawl in a hole and die. Sometimes grief is like a lead weight that makes everything I do a terrible effort, even breathing. Sometimes I ache from head to toe and tears are always right at the surface. In fact, I keep having to leave the keyboard to get another dry tissue. No one sees that though. No one wants to see, not even my nearest and dearest. It’s been made very clear to me that my grief and depression are a burden. If I find it hard to get out of my chair, I’m lazy. If I try to talk about it I’m either a drag or deliberately melancholy to elicit sympathy. I get a lot of advice on how to be more positive, when all I wanted was someone to put their arms around me and let me cry.
Depression is a very difficult thing to deal with. Every day can be a struggle. It can be very easy to slide back into darkness. I fight the dark all the time. But it isn’t something that I can always control. It doesn’t just go away with a little will power and gumption. It isn’t deliberate or a choice. You don’t choose to be ill. Do you choose to catch the flu? I don’t want to feel this way. I struggled with depression even before I lost my boys. Now it’s ten times worse. And I no longer have Neal’s shoulder to cry on or Devon’s concern or Ian’s boundless personality to help me. I’m lost and I don’t know how to find my way again.