January 6th Land


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Bad days seem to be every-other lately. Yesterday was not all that difficult. Logically, then, I guess I don’t really have to explain what kind of day today was.

I was weepy. Again.

So I e-mailed my counselor, simply asking Could you pray? in the subject line. And for the body text, nothing more than I’m having a really hard time.

She wrote me back to say she’d be praying. Later on, she wrote again to check in on me. That was when I expounded a bit more about why things were tough… I mean, besides the obvious. Somehow, it just felt good to get those few things off my chest. I didn’t even need to say it out loud or in person. Writing it out was sufficient. I have to assume that is why people journal…  why I probably should, too… and why the psalmists wrote Psalms. In a way, I guess, I do journal. That’s what I’m doing here on this blog. But sometimes an e-mail works better. There’s a little more certainty that it’s reaching someone.

Anyway, she wrote back with some encouragement that was like balm for my pain, as is characteristic of her words. She let me vent a little… she’s a great listener. Then she replied to each of my points. And that’s all well and good. I save all those e-mails… all her sage advice, perspective and consolation. I soak them up like a sponge and tuck them away for a droughty day.

Today’s conversation was more about the irony, though. There was advice, perspective and consolation… yes. But the irony was my take-away. It actually had me laughing out loud… just sort of struck my funny bone, and that’s a good one to have struck when in a mood like I was in.

After one last reply from me {to the advice she gave in the last of about two or three e-mail exchanges}, I thought I’d get back some more words of wisdom… maybe one more morsel for the night… or perhaps even nothing at all. Instead, I got this…

I just heard on the news that according to a study, January 6th is the most depressing day of the year. And that’s without all you’ve been through!!! Feel at all validated?”

Rereading it as I type it out here makes me see it’s not really a laughing matter. But it made me laugh out loud when I read it initially. Especially the “feeling at all validated?” part. I must have really been venting! Why, yes… I AM feeling validated!

It’s quite an interesting study and finding. I had never heard that. I’m sort of curious how they collected the data that would lead them to conclude that this date is the most depressing day of the year. I guess it makes sense. It’s a blah time of year {or in our case today here in Chicagoland, a very negative-two-million-degrees-windchill-factor time of year}, the days are still short and darkness falls early, and many are coming down from holiday highs. Actually, I had just explained to her in my e-mail that I felt like I was suffering a little from that. I do every year after Christmas, I think. But especially this one, coming down from a birth high as well. To be honest, I think “birth high” is really all it was for us this year, given how low-key our holidays ended up being.  As sad as it was to lose our little girl shortly before Christmas, we were surrounded by so much support and feeling so glad to have met her, we really didn’t have to stand on our own feet through that ordeal. We were carried through it.

But now is a different story. And we seem to be climbing our way down from the mountain… back to January 6th land. There will be valleys, I know. So I’m relieved we have little floaties to hold on to. Little lanterns to light our way through.

As I tucked Izzy in tonight, sitting by his bed waiting for him to drift off, I thought about how I sort of get blind-sided by these rough days. As though I forgot they’ll be making an appearance. On good days, I think to myself, either I’ve had six long months to grieve {and grieve I surely did} and that’s why I am doing so well here after. {Maybe I’m sort of at the end of my time of grieving?} Or… I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of grief that still lies ahead.

Time will tell.

All I know is that it’s clearly an ebb-and-flow thing right now. And I think I’m starting to embrace such a pattern… so as not to get too far off-track when I have days like these. Um, well… not that there’s a track. If there were, we’d all be doing {able to do} grief the same way, sort of on auto-pilot. Track implies that there’s some sort of set way and pace to grieve. I’m pretty sure it’s more individual than that. Off-path, as opposed to off-track, might be the more accurate thing to say.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
{Psalm 139:11-12, ESV}