The Hardest Week

Content note: death of parents (past) and mention of depression

Hello friends, today I wrote this for myself as part of my journal. As soon as I finished writing it, it felt like a weight had shifted. It didn’t get lighter, but it did get easier to carry. I don’t know if it will help anyone facing similar feelings of grief, but in any case, it doesn’t hurt to put it here.

The hardest week 1

This morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. This is not unusual: I am a night owl with insomnia and I hate mornings.

Once I was upright, I didn’t want to wash my hair, get dressed, or put on makeup. Again, not incredibly weird since I work from home and didn’t have Zoom calls on my calendar.

I ate breakfast slowly and then plopped down on the couch to finish reading a book I had started last night. It wasn’t particularly fascinating, but I didn’t have the energy for anything else.

I had a workout on the calendar today, but my body feels tense, heavy, and cautious. The last thing I wanted to do was week 4 of a weight training program.

All day I blamed laziness, procrastination, and depression, the latter of which has been more present lately, but it’s not unmanageable. (Don’t worry, I have professional help for that!)

Then, looking at the calendar, I realized that those are probably not the reasons for today’s lack of determination. It’s April 1st. Today marks the 17th anniversary of the hardest week of my life.

  • For me April 1st is not April Fool’s Day. Instead, it was the day my mother was admitted to the hospital.
  • April 2 was the day the nurses told me I probably shouldn’t leave his bed because the end was near.
  • April 3rd was the day she died, taking a part of me with her.
  • April 4 was the day I chose the location for his funeral and tombstone, full of remorse for not knowing his wishes and ashamed that I couldn’t afford anything grander.
  • April 5th will always be my birthday, but it hasn’t felt like a day of celebration since she passed away.
  • April 6 was when I attended my first funeral, which turned out to be that of the most important person in my life.
  • April 7th is a blank space in my mind. I don’t know what I did or how I felt other than empty and tired.

I wish I could say that I feel less significant or burdensome after all this time and that getting through the week has become easier. Not precisely. Time HAS made it possible for me to be a more functional human being during the week, but it hasn’t healed all the wounds. Time has also offered me perspective: I have a lot of compassion for my 26-year-old self who lost a 50-year-old mother to early-onset Parkinson’s disease. I did my best and I must hold on to that knowledge – it has a funny way of slipping away from me when I need it most.

I will be 43 this year. My mother was 43 years old the last time I recognized her as the mother I grew up with. I went to college and she divorced my father and moved to another state. Her mind, body and voice deteriorated rapidly after that. When she was 46 years old, she lived in a nursing home. At some point she may feel some way about 43, but today I just wanted to acknowledge that it’s April 1st.

Maybe facing the week head-on today will help me get through it with a little more self-compassion. Maybe not so. In any case, I think it is better to reflect than repress.


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