Grief Around Birthdays Can “Suck”

661000998-vacuum-cleaning-vacuum-cleaner-cleanliness-houseworkWe have a central vacuum in our home. If you have ever seen one of these contraptions, you know that the hose itself was designed to be long enough to service the Sahara Desert. I am five feet tall, so imagine me each time I take on the task of sucking life from our carpets. Her immense weight wraps around my body and together we erase the dirt of  the spawn who reside with me. We have named her Marcy. She coils up and down three flights of stairs with the suction power of a jet engine. She means business and I adore her carpet lines.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was my first one since my sister died. I had thought about it a few times, but in classic “me” style I had crammed the week full to keep busy. A hockey tournament, a wedding, non stop mayhem and no time to ponder. Until this morning when I noticed the carpets needed to be vacuumed.

Nursing a broken wrist I carted all seventy feet of Marcy from her home in the basement. As I began to do just the regular routine, I instantly felt all the emotions I had bottled up come boiling over. Not quite ready to deal with them, I did what any sane person would do and I grabbed all of Marcy’s attachments!

For what seemed like hours I sucked hair, lint, dust webs, and anything else that got in my path while army crawling through every square inch of our home.  If there was a particularly difficult spot, tears would pour from my eyes. I had convinced myself I was merely frustrated at my inability to reach. Every baseboard was sucked clean, every stair case freed of any trace of human contact until my body ached.

I swear I heard her say, “Are you happy with yourself, you dumbass?”

Just because my  psychotherapy degree hangs on the wall does not mean I am immune to grief. I too, forget to take the time to heal. I too, forget to sit with the feelings and deal. I too, need to always remind myself not to hide from them because they will come knocking, with a vacuum.

This week I lost another very special woman in my life. She always treated me like a daughter. She called me every year on my birthday for the last thirty years. I missed that phone call and I miss her voice.

At times it can be easier to take control over tangible things when we feel no control over our emotions. We all have our thing. Mine just happens to be cleaning. When life takes a dip and I find myself swimming to stay a float, I need my house in order. All it takes is a messy carpet to have me weeping. I can’t bring those I miss back. I won’t hear them wish me Happy Birthday again. I will always have the best memories in my heart forever.

Grief is unpredictable and messy. It can also be beautiful and happy when you let it. Do whatever you need on those tough holidays.  Today Marcy and I put my house back in order and let the emotions flow. Oh how I love carpet lines. ❤

Always remember that this is your grief journey so do it your way. If you are not ready to celebrate, don’t. Some may feel you need to celebrate that you are still alive. You do what you need to do, period. On the flip side, if you want to have a huge party, or take a great vacation, do that! The biggest lesson here is, please carry no guilt in whichever way you decide to spend your day.

Happy Birthday To Me.

Much Love ❤


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