Death / Depression

Death or Depression?

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November and December skip and twirl merrily along in their increasing darkness. The twinkling string of lights cast a soft holiday glow over all the party goers. And the band plays, subdued in the background, until it’s dancing time, then the fiddles begin to banter, intensity builds with each crescendo, and suddenly the ballgowns are swirling and the coat-tails are bowing, and the party is in full force. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, the glowing lights and dancing lovers, all under the winter sky.

All the while, the ice-water is rushing in. The bottom levels are drowning, trapped, clawing for breath. In the distance the faint sound of fiddles and horns, while the last breaths are had.

And that’s January. The leap from the sinking party boat into the ice cold water. Bone freezing death. And it happens every goddamn winter for me. The clinical diagnosis is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it’s like running headlong into the arms of an abusive ex-lover. The splash into the water causes internal bruising. Every time.

But this year it’s different, I vowed to muscle through it without a life preserver, without those tiny little pills that  cost a mere $.25 at the pharmacy.

Here I am, floating the frozen ocean, clinging to a piece of driftwood with the body of my dead grandma. I’m barely hanging on. Every breath feels labored. Every interaction with those drifting around me feels forced, through shivering blue lips and a survivor spirit. The party boat has just sunk under the water, and there’s no sign of the springtime rescue.

But maybe grief doesn’t work like Season Affective Disorder. Maybe grief won’t end when the lilacs bloom in my backyard. Maybe I’ll feel this frozen darkness drowning forever. And when I’m rescued, it won’t bring her back. Nothing will bring her back. She’s gone and I’m barely hanging on.

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Most women, at 3 days postpartum, are bleeding heavily and working on their latch. Three days after I was born my mom took a trip to Whistler with my dad. It was assumed that in adoption any safe caregiver would do. And my grandma was that bridge from my biological family to my adoptive family. She was there in the transition, holding me close, in the first few days of my life. And I was there in the last few days of her life. That limbo. Me lying helpless on their yellow couch, unable to communicate my tremendous loss, my infant longing. Her laying there in that hospital bed, so helpless, trying so hard to communicate with flutters of eyes and wiggles of toes. In a cosmic grand pullback it seems beautiful that I was there like she was there.

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In this mere mortal existence, I am sad beyond belief, and crying and drowning on the drive home from yoga. I am snapping at my toddler and wanting to call in sick every day from work. I’ve sent the SOS flare, but how can I possibly be rescued from this?

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