At this time last week, I was struggling.
I won’t go so far as to say depression, but I was having a deep case of the blues.
A heavy blanket of sadness seemed to weigh me down, making me feel like everything I was doing was in slow motion. There was the temptation to lie down under that blanket and just cry or sleep.
It wasn’t any one thing- it was what felt like a million different little things adding up and making me feel overwhelmed.
Like a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad friend.
Everything just seemed so hard. Like there was just too much to do and not enough time, energy, or money to do it all.
That there was no point in being able to check off one item on my monstrous to-do list because I wasn’t going to be able to make a big enough dent in any of it to make a difference.
Top that off with an overwhelming sense of loneliness- missing when I lived somewhere where if I were feeling like this, a friend could come over or I could go out with a friend and I’d feel better. After over three years here, I still haven’t found that. And it’s just so lonely.
These feelings had been going on for a few weeks. By last Friday, I thought I’d reached my breaking point. I was crying before 8 am, wondering if things would ever get better, if I’d ever stop feeling so alone, if I’d ever be able to do everything that needed to be done.
The morning passed. I was online but only taking care of what needed to be done for work, so I wasn’t seeing any news from twitter or facebook.
I headed out to get my youngest from preschool and then stopped at Target on the way back home.
In one of the toy aisles, two moms were blocking my way with their carts, as they talked.
One of them was on her phone- she would listen for a few seconds and then relay what she had heard to the other mom. I considered clearing my throat or accidentally clipping one of their ankles with my cart so they’d stop gossiping and move out of my way.
And then I caught some of the words they were saying… elementary school… gun… kindergarten… bullets… students and teachers dead.
I reached out and grabbed the arm of the mom who was on the phone, probably a little too hard, and asked simply but frantically, “Where?”
Upon finding out that it wasn’t here, I have to admit, I let out a huge sigh of relief.
The horror would set in later, as I sat and watched the news coverage, thinking of those young lives cut so short, those teachers and staff who died trying to protect their students.
And I found myself crying for the second time of the day. Though this second time felt so much different.
Looking back, my sobfest of the morning seemed like a self-indulgent pity party.
This. This was a true tragedy, a real reason to cry.
The families who lost their children- they had a reason to feel a blanket of sadness over them, to feel overwhelmed, to feel lonely.
Not me with my petty to-do list.
My to-do list, no matter how long it seemed, did not include items like planning a funeral for a 6 year-old or figuring out how to go on without one of my children.
It’s a wake up call, isn’t it? To think that something like this could happen anywhere.
While I’ve shed many tears in the days since, none of them have been for me.
I’ve been taking deep breaths and realizing everything that had previously been overwhelming me just wasn’t that important.
That I really could slowly chip away at my to-do list, but I could take deep breaths and realize what was really important.
That even if I didn’t get everything done around here, it didn’t really matter.
What mattered was having all of my kids here. That whether they were laughing and smiling or yelling and screaming- they are here.
And with them and Hubs- I’m not lonely.
And when that blanket of sadness threatens to weigh me down, I’m able to shake it off, and focus on the precious things in my life and move forward.
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