My face has opened up like a faucet and I cannot turn it off. My chest feels like a 30 pound weight has found its resting place on my heart, which is being ripped in 2 along the scars of heartbreak past. I don't know what this feeling is. My mind - the one place where rationality tends to (kinda) prevail - attempts to process the state I'm in. My emotions are beyond logic at this point. I'm inside of foreign territory. I'm inside of grief.
I was simply looking at photographs. Old photographs. Tiny rectangles of colors reflecting faces and lives from decades ago. Before things became complicated. Before we knew what would unfold. Is it just me, or did we all look so happily naive and trusting in the certainty of our fates?
For some of us, fate didn't turn out the way we dreamed or expected. Some of us divorced, miscarried children, got sick. At best, we became saddled with the weight of adulthood and parental responsibilities.
I move on to photos of my first born, and the dam releases. I'm choking, sobbing, gooing snot all over myself. I'm emotionally transported back to all the joys and sorrows, and it's all a bit too raw. The little 7 pound girl that entered my life and made me whole. The day she took her first breath was the day that I was born. A happy toddler, pre-diagnosis, waddling around on hunky thighs. Her round pudgy apple cheeks plumping up with her smile that showcases 4 tiny teeth at the midline. There are no photographs of seizures and chest tubes and medications and therapies and autism. There is only a little girl being a typical little girl. Smiling at the lens with joy and trust. We beam back at her with adoration and the paternal hope all of us take just a little too much for granted. We all thought we knew each other and knew what we were in for. These are the "Before Pictures"... Before a strained marriage would reach its bitter end... Before the girl I knew became lost to me.
I haven't looked at these pictures in at least 10 years. Ten years. I can't say why, though I can take an educated guess. And I'm sobbing, which is unusual for me. You see, I distinguish crying from sobbing. I get misted up quite often. With less frequency I'll cry; when I'm touched by a heartfelt story, when I see a sad movie, and especially when I'm fuming mad. I cry when I'm stung by a bee or when I'm really frustrated. But I don't sob. Crying comes from your eyes. Sobbing rips from your chest in uncontrollable heaves and fits. Sobbing hurts. Sobbing isn't cute. Sobbing feels like hysteria. Sobbing is what you do when someone dies or you've experienced such a profound loss that you feel broken beyond repair.
No one has died. Yet I am sobbing.
No one has died I whisper to myself. Thank God, I have not known such loss or despair. But I am sobbing over a loss, and I can't stop myself.
Later my husband will hug me and tell me that I am experiencing the insidious and cyclical symptoms of grief. He's a shrink, so psychoanalysis is free with the numptuals. He reminds me of the things I already know about grief and loss, how it will revisit you though out your life. How it can be repressed, neglected, excused, and ignored. But, like the weeds in your garden, they'll resurface among the beauty of your happy life. For the most part, they won't do harm, but they sure aren't pretty and they're a bitch to dig up.
I joke to my husband that I need to box up those albums and never look at them again if this is the effect they have on me! But the truth is, I really should look at them much more often.