2021 was a year filled with many firsts, but firsts in the land of grief I have realized only give way to the 2nds (and eventually the 3rd's), and the main difference between them I have learned is that the denial and the fog have vanished. It is still difficult to comprehend that this was the 2nd complete year I never stepped off the elevator at PCH and resided in any rooms on the 8th floor. It doesn't quite make sense that I haven't made the "please don't kill my daughter" cookies in over 2 years and brought them to Interventional Radiology on the 4th floor. I no longer would know the residents or interns, so many changes in just 2 years, but some things still remain the exact same.
2022 was the year I finished serving on the PCH ambulatory/inpatient outpatient PFAC, a position I took right before she died. After completing my 3rd term I realize it was time that I left that part of my life in the past. I no longer know the ins and outs of PCH. I no longer frequent any of the departments in the same manner. 2022 was the year I stated to accept that I no longer fit in that world.
2022 was the first year I went more than days, weeks, and even at times, months from visiting Sonzee's grave. It became a place that honestly saddens me more than brings me the peace it once brought. It was the first year coloring her rocks happened at an infrequent rate, and somewhere along the way, even the monthly rocks stopped being made.
2022 was the year that our family started to settle into newness, but for me, with a constant nagging at the back of my mind of how it would have been different with Sonzee here. It was also the year that I wish she would have visited me more. (Although I have no real idea how much she actually has been around) It was the year we settled into our new home, one that Sonzee never knew or lived in. It is a home that would never have worked had she been alive still. I have often found myself wondering if there would have ever been a way to make it work, would we have ever decided to leave our first home had she never died?
2022 was the year that I started to truly comprehend that grief is going to last forever. There is no getting over it. There is no moving on. Honestly, there is hardly any moving forward, but yet there is, at a significantly slow turtle pace. 2022 was still a tough year emotionally and physically.
In 2022 I found the most represented stage of grief was anger. I am still angry with her initial diagnosis, and I am certainly still angry she isn't here. I am at peace knowing or rather, assuming, that she is free from the pain, suffering, and horribly challenging life she was forced to live. Despite her assumed new found freedom, I am still upset and angry that this was the hand of cards our family was dealt.
2022 didn't help me answer the question of how many children I have, nor did it help me to be ok actively parenting 4 rather than the 5 children I should be. I wish I could say that 2022 was the year I was ok with families of 5 or more children, but to be honest, I am still envious of what they have.
2022 was the year that allowed myelf to experience grief in all of its glory. It was the year I started to admit to others that sometimes medication is needed to be able to function after the loss of a child. It is the year I started to be less ashamed that I need that type of help. I hope acknowledging this myself will be a source of comfort and strength in others needing the same validation.
This year was horribly painful in the world of grief. It was a long year that flew by quicker than I would have liked but yet not fast enough so that I can see Sonzee again. I have no idea what the nex year will bring in terms of grief and life after Sonzee. I wish I could end with some amazing quote that was inspirational, but all I have got is the words from Cord Overstreet...
I swear to love you all my lifeHold on, I still need you