Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrations and Getting Slapped in the Face

June has brought a lot of celebration into my life...
  • one of my best friends got engaged
  • my youngest sister graduated from high school
  • my sister Colleen had a birthday
  • several people in my life are expecting...some after having been trying for a long time or suffered miscarriages like me
  • the school year ended, I'm in summer mode!!!
  • my amazing husband turned 29!
  • we celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday
I want to stop on the last event and dive a little more deeply...

Grandma Ort blowing kisses to all of us before she blows out her candles
Last weekend almost my entire Pavona family got together to celebrate Ortensia Pavona's 90th birthday.  My 100% Spitfire Italian Grandma in all her 4' splendor is 90.  How amazing right?!  Most of us went to church where she was honored and then headed to Piazzano's for some yum yums.  As I sat at a round table with my parents, sisters, and Josh, I reflected on the fact that the last time my whole family was together like this was for my brother's funeral.  It felt really good to gather for a positive reason and I was looking forward to spending time with my family while celebrating instead of mourning.  It was great to catch up, laugh, hug, etc, but I have to say in all honesty that grief slapped me in the face that night several times.

One of my cousins has a new addition to their family, an adorable baby girl.  She was born right around the same time my first due date would have been.  Many of my family members wanted to get their hands on her, of course, and my mom was one of them.  My mom is the most amazing mom and is going to be the most amazing grandmother some day.  I know she's wanted to be a grandma since Josh and I got married (although she never pushed or pressured I have to add).  The happiness she felt when I told her I was pregnant both times and the extreme sadness and sorrow when I lost both babies was just as real as my happiness and sorrow.  Seeing her with my cousin's baby made me think about how happy we would all be if she was walking around with my baby and how lucky my kids are going to be to have a grandma like her. I looked at her in a different light in that moment and then came the tears.  Inappropriate I told myself; Why are you crying?  You're just getting to a better place with all of this! I tried for several minutes to talk myself out of how I was feeling.   

A little while later, my Aunt Judy with the help of her husband and kids, made a great slide show with pictures stretching all of my grandma's 90 years.  One of the things she included was pictures of each individual family with my grandparents so of course my brother's picture showed up on the screen several times.  Seeing him brought tears to my eyes almost instantly and gazing at my sisters and parents showed that they had similar reactions.  Geez Kristin, now you've cried twice! Can't you see a picture of Eric and smile because of all the memories instead of having to cry...again?!

(Okay yes, I'm harder on myself than anyone else could be on me)

It's amazing when you think you're in such a good place with a loss or a death and have been moving forward in a positive direction and then it can take a turn for the worse when you are completely not expecting it.  Even a time that should be 100% celebration can have tears of sorrow.  My first inclination, as you saw, was to feel guilty about my reaction to some of the things at this party, but upon reflection on this I've changed my mind. 

I've been through a lot recently.  These feelings of grief are real and genuine and I need to experience them.  Not getting emotional around babies sometimes and not getting emotional when seeing pictures of my brother would be more alarming then the occasional tears that might stream down my face, even at an inappropriate time.   

So I got sad at a birthday party? I think that's okay and I'm okay. 

Us with Grandma Ort :)

Pavona family June 2012

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