Checking in: Seven Months Later

The seven month mark is so surreal to me. It sounds like such a long time, and it certainly does not feel like seven months have passed since Aria’s very last breath.

When I wrote my last “Check in” post at 5 and a half months, I found it very difficult to explain the place I was in. My emotions were pretty elusive, and ever changing. I figured things would stabilize soon, and eventually I would have a more definite answer to the question, “How are you doing?”

But it’s still just as tough to explain.

I still cry every single day. Aria is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. My entire day is saturated with thoughts of her. Who would she be? What would she look like? I ask myself “What if?” a million times, in a million different ways. And without fail, each night as I begin to drift to sleep, my mind replays all of the conversations we had with our doctors, as I try to understand all of the pain and trauma.

If you were to ask me “Are you happy?” I would be quick to say yes. On the surface I suppose I am happy. I’m married to an amazing man, who I have a beautiful relationship with. We’re fed, we have a roof over our heads, our finances are fine. So those bases are covered. We are also extremely blessed to have a lot of wonderful people in our lives, who give us a lot of laughs, and good times. So sure, yeah, I guess one could say we are happy.

But there is always that lingering question in my mind, “How happy can I really be without Aria?”

Beyond all of that, I often struggle to figure out what to do with myself. Each day brings so much possibility, but I have no idea where to begin. So most of the time, I just pick up around the house, and find small things to occupy myself until Brian comes home from work. This pattern doesn’t feel like truly living. I just sort of exist in this limbo, with half of myself in heaven with Aria, and the other half tethered to this earth.

These feelings are what led us to plan a spur of the moment trip to Las Vegas. Brian and I literally just looked at each other one day and said, let’s get outta here. Less than two weeks later, we were on a plane to Vegas. There was magic in finding ourselves in a completely different place, with so many things to occupy our time. But it was also a lot of work, and we experienced a few difficult moments. Grief strikes no matter where you are in the world. And it was definitely not your average Vegas trip. We opted out of intense, late nights of drunken partying because we just don’t feel comfortable with that kind of fun anymore. Maybe that’s our “parent instinct” kicking in. Instead, we chose to indulge in great food, amazing shows, shopping, relaxing, and many discussions about Aria.

We had a great trip, but it was really exhausting, and hit hard once we returned home. For three days, all I wanted to do was sleep. Constantly trying to maintain happiness and joy, all while fighting off grief was a lot of work. It was still worth it, and we made a lot of great memories, all while finding ways to include Aria in our trip as well.

Now, I feel as if I should have a goal to accomplish over the next few weeks, but I’m lacking a lot of creativity at the moment. I know there are things I could work on, but grief is so unpredictable that it’s not fair to set timelines. I do want to stay consistent in day to day tasks like going to the gym, and eating well. I’ve also got a lot of planning I should be doing, as we are moving across the country in less than six months. But I have this feeling that life is just going to unfold no matter how many goals I set, or plans I make.

So, that’s where I am now. It’s still so impossible to sum up in a sentence. I do believe it’s possible to grow, and really come alive in some way after tragedies like this, but it’s a tremendous process. Although, I have a feeling we are getting there. Wherever “there” may be.

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