I never know how the depression is going to present itself or to what degree. Sometimes, it’s sudden and other times, it’s inexplicable and manic. One thing is for certain, it’s expected around the months of April, August and the holidays so it’s safe to say that for the past five years I feel this heaviness, this weight, pretty much a third of the entire year. And that’s not counting the other two thirds of the year when the minutest thing can send me spiraling downward into the dark abyss of grief, loneliness and sadness. It all comes down to the hard to swallow fact that living in a world without my mother has been an unwanted learning experience, one where simply not existing myself often feels more ideal than celebrating another one of her birthdays without candles that will be extinguished by her very breath.
Tomorrow, April 8th, I will wish my mother another happy birthday, the fifth to be exact, since she took her last breath. There is no guidebook for these types of things – how to celebrate the birth date of a deceased loved one – filed under the self-help section of your local bookstore. Or maybe there is? But I sure as hell don’t want to read it. And just as there isn’t sufficient guidance on how to conduct special occasions in light of death, there isn’t warning of the so-called chemical imbalance in the brain that is sure to rear its ugly head. Sure, I know what month is approaching but as I stated above, one cannot anticipate depression’s presentation, its severity or its effect. One can only ride it out, go with the flow per se.
This particular year, I have found it increasingly difficult to lift my body out of bed every single morning this week. I guarantee the people with whom I conduct my weekly routine are none the wiser. Should I applaud myself for this? Is this an accomplishment? Let me just pause and pat myself on the back for being able to conceal my detrimental grief for eight hours a day. And if you’re not grasping the hard sarcasm in those last few sentences or sensing the exaggerated rolling of my eyes whilst I wrote it, you’re missing something.
In some ways, the daily routine aids in easing some of the tremendous sadness that has surrounded this particular month for the past five years. I’m immensely grateful I just so happen to be exceptionally busy at work this week. But nighttime inevitably comes enveloping me in its bulging, sorrowful arms and then the early morning rudely awakens me to yet another awful, unwelcome reminder, “Your mother is dead.”