I have anxiety. I am fearful of new situations, often feeling dread at the prospect of walking into a room full of people. My mother tells me that as a child I was completely fearless. She tells me about the day when I climbed onto a hydro box and then propelled my four year-old self onto a bike that was twice the size of me. I don’t think I could have even reached the pedals had I tried to motor off along the sidewalk.
Wrestling with these new emotions that have come in the wake of our son’s suicide in 2009 is a regular occurrence. These unwanted feelings settling on me quietly and pinning me down to a safe and secure spot.
Everyday I’m filled with any number of emotions. My reservoir of grief is full and will rise up unannounced and turn me around. I call this my ‘cleansing’: difficult but important moments and part of healing.
I will, of course, never forget our life with Daniel, but in trying to find my way I notice that my grief shifts around. Some say that is grace.
It is now five years and three months since my son, Daniel, died. In those years I have advocated for youth mental health, written a memoir, run the Boston Marathon, made some new friends and crawled my way back to being a wife, a mother and a daughter. Feelings of anxiety and fear are part of living through horrible, tragic events. The sharp edge of loss is firmly wedged in my psyche now and forever.
It has taken me a long time to recognize the changes in myself. As I work to better understand these newly acquired emotions my hope is that I am able to once again jump into life with both feet.