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Holiday Times, How to Cope?

I have to admit that coping mechanisms are not my strong point. I am never going to be able to fully comprehend the why's and the how's. I have found that lately I have not been able to sleep. I am up all night with the ifs. I want to know what Adeline would be excited about. I want to know how I would have done Easter baskets and what would have been in hers. There is no way that I can ever know. I will never again make an Easter basket for my little girl. I will never again decorate eggs with her or celebrate with a holiday meal. She will forever be missed at every family meal and on each journey of life. The holidays hurt the worst because it is a stark and harsh reminder that she is not here when everyone else is.

(Adeline always loved bubbles. Easter 2020 she got this awesome lamb bubble maker and we played outside with it!)

(This will forever be our last normal Easter filled with Easter egg hunts and fun!)

(Adeline had made Shane and I an Easter basket that she created all herself as she felt like we were left out. I miss her thoughtfulness and her big heart. Perhaps she knew then that she was not going to have another chance to give us a basket, I will never know.)

My days lately are filled with fighting back tears and the longing that I have for her. I know that I have to fight and to keep living, but some days that fight feels impossible. Last night I went out to dinner with my family and had a few too many drinks. I could see how it would be easy to fall into a life of alcoholism. The voices were silenced for a bit and I was able to sleep a full night without waking up in tears multiple times. I was able to actually just sleep as if it were a day before the fire. That's the crazy thing about this life. There are moments where I can silence my brain and where it can forget. Don't get me wrong. I do not want to silence the memories of Adeline or forget about her amazing little life. I want to silence the voices that tell me that I did not save her and that it is all my fault that she is not here with us. I want to silence the screams that are trapped in me with no way to escape. I want to silence me....I could never want to silence her.

(She was so excited and it was a perfect morning, a morning that I will always long to relive and recreate, a morning with her.)

(The last Easter basket that I will ever create for my girl.)

(Decorating eggs, it is just not the same...but we still do it!)

(My girls love each other so much and were the sweetest when they were together. This was part of Easter weekend 2020.)

I know that the feelings that I have, the guilt....guilt in such an immense form is debilitating....are holding me back. However, I also think that it is naive to believe that they could ever go away. Today we will have a new adventure. We bought tickets with some friends to the live action Clued Up game which is like a city wide escape room. Our friends had some things come up and can't attend. So, we are going to be taking the kids with us. Shane has been wanting to see the movie "Everything Everywhere All At Once" so we are going to the 11:30 am showing and then headed to do the Clued Up game. Then we are going to stop by the store and bakery for our Easter needs after which we will come home and get ready for tomorrow. I have chores for the kids this morning and I have to finish the last part of my paper for my FOS. Then I am going to just have one paper left to write over the next two weeks and submit and my FOS exam.

(These are the moments that I would give anything to have back, simple moments curled up on my couch with my girls. I rarely even sit on our couch now and I rarely have the attention span to sit for a movie.)

(We used to plant jelly beans every Easter Eve and they would turn into suckers magically because that was part of the Easter magic. She was so excited to plant her yearly jelly beans.)

The Easter holiday is tomorrow. I will forever remember the last Easter that we spent together. I had my grandma's MelMac and created a meal around the things that we loved. We had a roasted chicken, crab legs, and a bunch of homemade sides for a full Easter spread. We spent that Easter alone and did Zoom calls with everyone for the holiday as it was the height of COVID. We put glow sticks on the kids by taping them to their clothes and let them do their egg hunt in the dark and then we watched a Phish live stream and let the kids dance and have a great time. We still have some pretty amazing videos from that day. It was a wonderful holiday and a time that I will never forget. It was filled with so much love and laughter. Our holidays are still filled with love and there is still laughter but the laughter doesn't feel the same without her here. The laughter is missing a giggle, a giggle that would warm my heart to hear. I just want her back with me. I don't honestly know how to continue on this path without her. The world seems cold and sad and lonely. I am surrounded by people and yet my thoughts leave me feeling completely alone.

(Five years ago we were headed home from an amazing family vacation in Asheville, a vacation that would include some extra twists and turns as we drove home, but a vacation that was magical all the same.)

(Family movie nights were always the best. I had all of my babies curled up with me and my girl was typically always on my lap!)

I do get to see my good friend Daneen tonight too. She is bringing her daughter Roxann to a bar to sing show tunes and for the two of us to have a few drinks. I am having Shane drop Althea and I off so that I can enjoy a few cocktails too, cocktails that get to celebrate the end of my paper writing for my FOS (the one that I might not pass, but I will be okay). I am happy to be closing this chapter however it ends. I am proud of how far I have come and with the reassurance of my department, I know that I can come back and take my FOS on an open ended platform when I feel ready to tackle it if the time is not now. My deadline was tight this time as it was an incomplete. This is why I had to do it now, but I know that now is not my time and that I am not completely ready. I know that coming back later would be helpful for me to study something that I am more interested in now as well. I really wish that I had done research on the way that grieving mothers have been treated throughout history, on the mental health care system that they got trapped in. There is a new passion for history in me and a passion for a different type of history and one that I feel would be impactful in a new way. I have thought about reaching out to a former professor to see if I can change my FOS to a thesis and write about this history of the mental health system, instead of doing a FOS. Then I can take my time, do some research, and eventually come back when I am ready with my thesis. I still want my MS but perhaps the things that I need to be focussed on are the things in history that I can connect with on a deeper level. I reached out to a former professor today to see if she would be my advisor on a thesis if I don't pass the FOS. I think that this might be a new route that is worthwhile. We shall see.

(I made the popsicles with Sprite and gummy bears for them, they loved them.)

(They were so funny when they were all together, I can hear their giggles and laughter when I see this picture!! This was the last time I did formal photographs of the four of them. This was the blooper but I am so glad that I have it!)

(My silly little ray of sunshine, none of this should be...I miss her with every fiber of my being and every single small piece of my soul.)

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