Some things are so painful to write about. A week and a half ago, my daughter graduated. And the week or two preceding that is when I started falling apart emotionally. Not only was my only daughter graduating high school, but my oldest son is applying to our country’s military. With both these things looming over me, I became emotionally undone, unraveled. It was bad – always on the verge of loosing the deep ugly cry. Even as I write this, I feel my heart clenching and my eyes are welling up with tears. I’ve been having a hard time with processing these intense feelings, careful to not let them out in front of anyone. It would be the kind of sob that would scare someone – it comes from a secret place of deep, deep sorrow. Not only is it emotions that I am battling, but anxiety as well. I went through three or four days of extreme anxiety recently and it was so bad I thought my heart was going to give out.
Parents see their kids graduate and step into their own lives every day and I wonder if every mother experiences what I have been experiencing. All through my daughter’s graduation, it took all the strength I had – all freaking day – to not go into body-rocking sobs. Even the days leading up to her graduation were hard – even as she was getting her hair done at the salon the morning of. The looming idea that my son could be accepted into the military is also tugging at my heart-strings. The last time I experienced such sadness – if this is actually sadness – was when I made the brutally anguishing decision to omit my abusive mother from my life.
I didn’t experience this when my oldest son graduated, which was a few years ago, because he chose to not go to his ceremonies. He only wanted to go to the dinner and dance with his friends because he knew that sitting through his commencement would be more than he could take. He didn’t even want to get graduation photos as he hates his picture taken. But his dad and I made him a deal – ‘no commencement means we get grad portraits – it’s either we get portraits or we’re all going to commencement.’ He chose the graduation photos which turned out beautifully. My daughter’s graduation was so drawn out that when I came home, I thanked my oldest son for not putting us through a brutal commencement ceremony. Even my daughter found it too long – it was agony even for her. Don’t get me wrong, watching my daughter (or son if he went) walk across the stage to get a certificate was very much one of those once-in-a-lifetime kind of things – but when there are over 450 students, it was too long especially for how emotional I was. By the time I got home there was not a spec of eye makeup left and my eyes were puffy. I speculate that had we went to our oldest’s commencement and celebration – these very emotions would have surfaced even then. I remember how emotional I was then and I know, had I gone to his commencement, I would have been an emotional mess at his as well and I know he wouldn’t know how to react to his emotional mother. But because we didn’t go to my son’s graduation – the emotions didn’t hit as hard. But I recall still having a hard time choking back the emotions as I was dealing with my kid growing up. And now with my second child, my daughter, it was hitting at a force I did not expect.
I was trying so hard to process these emotions, still am actually. They were, are, rooted at the core of me and it was so hard to keep them under wraps – like trying to restrict rising dough that has been tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. It was, is, a containment ready to burst. Amazingly, I got through it without my emotional floodgates bursting with tears and sobs. I am still bottling it – I am never alone enough to just let it out, but I know I have to allow myself time alone to do it – because if I let it out in front of my family – I really do think it would scare them.
I just remembered – just now – that there was another time I cried like this and it was just after my first child, a son was born. I cried body-rocking sobs for three to four days – but the crying took a full week (maybe a bit more) to subside. He was a caesarean birth and I was in hospital for for the first three days and during those three days I found it very hard to stop crying and I cried hard – body-rocking sobs and they were so bad that the nurses were really scared for me because they could not console me. My emotions have been at this same intensity lately. Even when I cried like that after the birth of my son, I could not make heads or tails of it. Nurses would ask me what was wrong and I’d choke out, “I don’t know.” At least when I omitted my mother from my life (which was when I was pregnant with my third child) – I knew the reason for the intensity of that sorrow. But the birth of my son, I didn’t understand. I don’t know why so much ‘sorrow’ was felt. And then, now – it has hit me again. This time a double whammy! Son wanting to go into the military and my daughter graduating – both of them eager to build lives of their own. Is it normal to feel this intense emotion that usually comes with great loss?? When my kids are just entering a new phase of their lives??
I don’t know why this sorrow is hitting me like it is. I don’t think other mothers feel these emotions so intensely when their kids hit these milestones in their lives, or do they??
I don’t know if this is normal. My mother never ever cried for me – not when anything bad happened to me and not when I celebrated any life milestones like graduating and getting married, or having babies, like most mothers do.
Is it loss that I feel? A sense of loss?? Is it because I feel like I am losing them?? Does it have anything to do with my abusive mother?? Does it have to do with the fact that my family of origin blew me off – abandoning me, forsaking me to appease my abusive mother and to uphold the narcissistic family facade?? Am I feeling forsaken again?? Is it feeling like I am losing people I love – again?? I think this is going to take time for me to process … all I know is the sadness and loss I feel is insanely intense. The emotions are one thing … the anxiety I have been experiencing makes it even worse. And because they are so intense, I know I have to let it out and that I can’t do it in front of anyone. I think its scary for other people when they don’t understand where it is coming from. I can’t put my finger on it – why I feel the intense emotions I do – but I have an idea where they come from.
So even though these emotions are scary because of their intensity, they are not scary in that they will lead to anything terrible like self harm. I know it’s a release of some kind – I just can’t put my finger on why – and I hope I have some alone time soon where I can finally just let it out because it’s really hard to contain. These emotions loom just beneath the surface – so ready to burst that even lately, little things can trigger it. I know I just have to find a safe place to let it out.
Has anyone else experienced emotions of this magnitude before??
~ Saoirse Quill