This year, as has been the pattern, as soon as Sarah's birthday passed earlier this month, the vague melancholy, irritable feeling returned, as the calendar caught up to me. Then we went out to Indiana to visit with my parents and see our newborn niece. It was not good timing; I still have a lot of trouble with newborn girls and being there watching her be the center of attention for 3 days was not what I call a relaxing vacation. I was very glad to get home.
I hadn't planned anything for Abigail's birthday. The kids wanted to make a cake, but I decided I didn't feel like it. And for the first time I didn't feel a need to relive the time she was with us: no looking at scrapbooks or videos or even getting out her things. I didn't want to dredge up the emotions. I was just irritable and restless, yet without energy, a little depressed I guess, and just wanted the day to be over. It was rainy, and it cleared up enough for us to briefly go to the cemetery and then out to eat. Eating out is a big treat for us now that I am not working, and we decided that it would be a good way to celebrate Abigail's birthday. After spending a few minutes at the cemetery, my restlessness left and I really enjoyed our birthday dinner.
And if the pattern from years past holds, that feeling of melancholy and irritability will continue until at least mid-September, when the anniversaries are finished. I am finally learning not to let this surprise me and to be ready for anything during this time: sadness, numbness, irritability, depression. But I am also learning that things will go back to where they were when I get past this period.