Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Subconscious Mind ....

.... is sometimes a lot more powerful than I'd like it to be.
Maybe it's bigger than the rest of my mind.
Or maybe it's just a lot more determined to be in charge.
All I know is that it's very aware of the date on the calendar and it seems hell-bent on forcing my emotions to react to that memory .... even when the rest of my mind is going along quite contentedly.
Or so I thought.

This Saturday, the 18th, will mark the third "anniversary" of Jim's death.
I always enter this Season of the year with trepidation and caution.  I know that Thanksgiving through January 7th (his birthday) will be bumpy, wavy and unpredictable.
But I've done better this year.
I've been less emotional and more in control.
Or so I thought.

I woke up yesterday feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest, accompanied by a very dark rain cloud.
And I couldn't figure out why.
Physically I felt fine.
The weekend had been good.
The kids are all well.
I laid in bed, wondering why I felt like crying.
And then I remembered.
My conscious mind caught up with my subconscious.

My subconscious is counting down the days.
It's reminding the rest of me that this time of year has sucked since 2007.
It seems to resent my conscious mind for feeling more positive.
I feel like it wants to drag me back into the dark days of grief.
And I don't want to go there.

And so I'm not.
Oh, I'm sure I'll struggle with my emotions, but I'm stronger now than I was last year.
I refuse to let my subconscious rule on this issue.
I refuse to allow it to overrule what I told the kids a few weeks ago.

I told them that we are done with making the 18th of December an annual funeral service for Jim.
We're done with making it a day to be sad and depressed.
It's time to celebrate Jim, rather than mourn him.
That's what he would want.
He'd also want us to celebrate the Season.
And I told them that was not only OK, it was great.

I knew that they'd be invited to parties that weekend.
I knew that they might struggle with the decision to celebrate or mourn.
And I wanted to free them of any guilt for wanting to be happy that day.
I think they're good with it.
They're ready to be happy.

And so am I.
In spite of my huge subconscious.

I know this post sounds crazy.
It does to me when I re-read it.
But I think .... I hope .... that you will "get it".
All of you on this path will know what it's like to have your subconscious remind your conscious mind that it should be grieving.  You've most likely experienced that sadness that seems to blindside you.
You know what it's like to feel an overwhelming sadness for seemingly no reason ..... only to realize that it's because of the date on the calendar.

I know I'll continue to be emotional this week.
I know that I will shed some tears.
But I will also choose to celebrate.
I will celebrate the Christmas season with friends and loved ones.
And I will celebrate Jim .... and what we had ..... and the children we have.

In spite of the date.
In spite of my subconscious.

All thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated.


  1. you are not crazy. My husband's birthday was on Jan 7th too and I lost him in the fall. I too felt like you do. Happy at times, but them like you say it hits you that they aren't here. I too refuse to let saddness rule my life. He would want that as would your husband!

  2. Peace and love to you Janine. This is such a tough time of year. Emotions are draining. Take time for you this week and embrace all those around. Just so you know - the post doesn't sound crazy at all. It is such a crazy path we are walking on - but we are all walking...

  3. Well said. I know exactly what you are talking about. Praying for you an yours turning this season.

  4. Thank you for a wonderful post. You are always totally candid, but also inspire hope for those of us that have yet to experience these firsts...Christmas, birthday, death anniversary, etc.

  5. Yes I get it. Been there and am still there after 4.5 years. May your holidays be filled with good memories and lots of love. Many, many peeps care and share your feelings.

  6. At 5 weeks with Christmas and New Years staring at me like a black tower....these are words of hope. Thank you.

  7. I do get it. One minute everything is fine and then its like I hit a brick wall. But I will go on and I will find hapiness in the season not only for myself but for the two wonderful young men that our boys have become at such an early age. Thank you ,love and prayers to you and yours.

  8. Beautiful post. I was surprised by the depth of pain I felt on the second anniversary of my husband's illness, which was also our 40th wedding anniversary weekend. I poured out my pain in a email to my sister, and she responded and I felt so much better. This emotion returns on every significant day on some level. Once I acknowledge it, I can move on. The 20th of this month is my husband's birthday. I will be visiting my son and family for Christmas, and I plan to take them out to dinner to celebrate John's birthday. And I always send out an email to extended family to encourage everyone to celebrate John with ice cream, which he loved. We do this through out the year. His sister sent me a picture of her family camping and each person was eating a Dove bar in memory of John with big smiles on their faces. God bless you and your family and I send you joy, health, hope, and fun this holiday season.