I’ve written before how grief impacts physical health.
It’s true that our hearts and our bodies are intricately connected and stress in one area inevitably produces effects in the other.
I thought I had made it past the “critical period” when child loss might show up in my body but I was wrong.
Christmas Eve Day landed me in the hospital with a massive GI bleed. It wasn’t the first time I’d had such an incident. They began in 2007 and this made the sixth trip to the emergency room for the same problem-third since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
But this is the first time it’s taken nine long months to rebuild the red blood cells I lost.
I’m sure age and my autoimmune disease have something to do with it. Still, I’ve been pretty puny trying to do chores around this place with insufficient oxygen flowing to my muscles and my lungs. It’s been a challenge walking up the long hill from the horse pen to the front door. It’s been hard marching up and down the stairs in the house carrying laundry and sundry other things.
Tuesday, though, I got some really good news!
I get bi-monthly infusions for my RA and it’s standard practice to run labs before to make sure my body can tolerate the onslaught of potent medicine flowing through my veins.
For the first time in nine months the results showed I had a normal blood count.
I suspected that it had finally crept up into normal range because when I had my grandson here a couple weeks ago I was able to keep up with him. But it was lovely to get empirical confirmation.
And just like bad news drags me lower since Dom left us, good news boosts me higher.
There was a time when I thought I didn’t want to keep going-the pain was too great, the burden too heavy.
Thankfully, I’m not still in that pit of despair.
I miss Dominic. I miss the family we were. I mourn the uncle and (probably) husband he would have been.
But I have people here who I love. I have a life that still has meaning and purpose.
It’s my mama’s birthday-the second one we will celebrate without her here to blow out the candles.
It’s also the second anniversary (do you call it that?) of the day Papa had to call an ambulance to rush her to the hospital.
She never came home.
These past two years have been hard. Mama’s death plunged me back into deep grief for her and for Dominic. It tapped the wound that had begun to scar over a bit and the feelings I’d learned to push down bubbled back to the surface.
I’ve just now begun to sleep through the night again most nights. For much of the past two years I’ve been waking two or three times in the dark to vividly awful dreams-my family in peril and no way to help them is the theme over and over and over.
I know other motherless daughters.
Somehow knowing Mama isn’t available on the other end of the phone or sitting in her chair, waiting for me to come through the door at the farm, makes me supremely vulnerable.
One less generation between me and whatever the world might throw at me.
I know she is healthy and whole, happy and full of joy in Heaven. I know she’s reunited with her own mama, her siblings and Dominic.
On good days, that’s enough to make the missing bearable.
But on days like today, when we should be celebrating another year together but can’t, it doesn’t help all that much.
I miss her.
I miss Dominic.
I miss the me that used to be ignorant of what death steals from the living.
Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mama. We’ll be there soon. ❤