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Feeling Emotionally Bipolar

I almost didn’t use the word “bipolar” in my title for this blog, as I know a couple of people who struggle with this very real and oftentimes debilitating disorder and don’t want to belittle their condition in any way.  But I looked up the word to see if I could find a better one to describe my feelings this time of year and found “bipolar” to be the most apt.

The simple definition of this word is “having two poles” – which is how I have felt most of the time since the loss of our middle child almost 4 years ago, but especially so in autumn.  As I was reading about this word I found that the antonym for bipolar is uni-polar, meaning “having one pole”.  I realized, immediately upon reading this, that I used to feel like that – having one pole – and my family was my pole.  Everything I thought, spoke and did revolved around my family – my husband, children and grandchildren.

That singular focus – my one pole – changed dramatically almost 4 years ago.

Autumn has been my favorite season since I’ve been an adult; I used to love everything about it.

Then the absolute worst day of my entire life occurred on October 6th, 4 years ago, and all that changed, it seemed.

As the years roll by, though, I find that it didn’t completely change.

I still love almost everything about autumn.

But I hate, so much more than I can possibly describe, that one horrible day.

I am ecstatic at the cooler temperatures that make it comfortable to have a fire in our fire-pit in the evening, the glimpses of what’s to come in the colors of the leaves, the ripening pumpkins in my little raised garden, and my husband and I’s 38th anniversary approaching…………..12 days after the 4th anniversary of our most horrific day ever.

This makes me feel emotionally bipolar.

My favorite time of the year.

The most horrendous day of my life.

They happen at the same time of year now.

I had a very good morning yesterday morning.  After lunch, I headed out to the post office to mail some bills and was looking forward to the short drive on what was a  beautifully sunny and cool early autumn day.  After I visited the post office, which is only a few blocks – as the crow flies – from the cemetery our son is buried at, without any real forethought I headed toward the cemetery to visit his grave.  I do this often, so I didn’t think much about it.

When I got there, my youngest daughter was there, visiting the grave of her older brother.  My emotions were immediately stirred, and I was crying almost before I could greet her.  There is only one thing harder than losing a beloved child, in my opinion, and that is watching your remaining beloved children suffer the loss of their beloved sibling.

As I left the cemetery, 20 minutes or so later, I fought the tears, gave up and let them flow, then realized the significance of the day.  It was exactly like the day he died – sunny, slightly windy, temps in the low 70’s, my precious youngest daughter, the only person with me the morning the deputies came to my door to tell me my middle son had not survived a car accident, visiting his grave at the same time I was.

And then came that feeling again – emotionally bipolar.

I love, love, love, love, love the weather this time of year.  Yesterday was the perfect day.

But even as my heart soared with delight at that perfect day, the devastation that crashed into my being, my life and my family on that perfect day almost 4 years ago hit me again and I was slain all over again.

As I drove home from the cemetery, I wasn’t in my car, in the present.  I was there – back in our unfinished dining room (we were in the process of remodeling our home when our son passed away), hearing the investigating officer explain to us how she thought our son’s accident happened; hearing my children sniffling, trying not to cry out loud so they, too, could hear her; feeling her pat my back in sympathy; leaving the house with my husband and children to go to the hospital to see the lifeless body of our son and brother; seeing him lying on the hospital bed, looking like he was simply in a deep sleep.

The good thing is, it doesn’t take as long as it used to for me to snap out of that despairing state; I can look to the Lord, remember all that still is, and be thankful for that.

But I still feel emotionally bipolar.

One pole is still here with me on the earth; the other in heaven, drawing my heart there.

The challenge is to remember Whom I have in heaven……….besides my boy.

“When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. 

Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. 

Whom have I in heaven but You?  And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”   

Psalm 73:21-26

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