Day Twenty Two: The Burn

Sarah McLachlan/Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 

I have a song lyric in my head today, and it goes like this:

Hold on/Hold on to yourself/This is gonna hurt like Hell 

(Sarah McLachlan "Hold On")

Before we were married, when Dave and I were a couple of starry-eyed kids playing house in my apartment, this song and the entire CD were part of a playlist that became the soundtrack of our romantic courtship. When I hear it now--after being with Dave for thirteen years--it conjures up happy memories of that younger us, making dinner in my cramped kitchen, and planning out our future together over bowls of linguini.

But today the meaning has changed for me. And it's become more of a warning to myself of what lies ahead.

The past few days had been good ones for me, which I suppose means that they were good ones for Dave and the kids. I was present in both the physical and emotional sense. I was feeling light and happy, and it seemed like I was finally getting over the worst part my depression. Most of all, I had been able to sleep.

It all changed last night. Lying down in bed, waiting to fall asleep, a wave of dread came over me. I began to notice how loudly my heart was thumping, and how strong each beat shook my body. My pulse shot up towards my head and it started to hurt. I could feel my throat choke up and eyes swell. Everything burned. Without warning, tears filled up my pillow.

I tried to coax myself to stop, which made matters worse. The more my inner monologue raged, the less control I had over the fiery sensation in my chest. I was suffocating from an internal heat and had to get some air. I spent the night-into-morning sitting in a living room chair and staring out the window. There would be no sleep for me.

The feeling of being fooled is growing tiresome. I felt betrayed that first time, in the hospital when we all thought my Mom was going to pull through. But I was proven wrong in the most dramatic of circumstances, which suddenly left my feet unsure of their steps. Where do I go and how do I get there? How do I even walk?

And now this. To be granted a few days of normalcy only to get burned again. Well, that just sucks.

This hot, suffocating heaviness in my chest will go away. And I'll feel better. But I know it's going to come again because I'm apparently not done with the incendiary feelings of grief.

Now I know to sing these song lyrics, claim them as my leitmotif.

I just have to hold on.