I took a challenge and am a bit nervous and excited at the same time. Why the nerves? Could be because of my thorough research…..that is, I read an e-mail from Melissa at BlogHer telling me about the October 2012 NaBloPoMo event. The task……….30 posts in 30 days. Research done, I’m in. This type of research and planning has gotten me into plenty of situations where instead of getting my feet wet, I just dive into the deep end and worry about swimming later. Good Plan? We’ll see.
Each day offers a writing prompt. This is the part that intrigued me. Writing off the prompt to see where it takes me. Guess I better get some good goggles………….cause it looks like I am doing the backstroke in the deep.
October’s topic, “Masks.” What image do I conjure when I hear this word? Protection or performance. Upon reading “the word”, my first thought was cover up, protection. This then led to a great deal of anxiety that fueled a frenzy of activity, including a four-mile run, homemade meatballs, a trip to the grocery, a run by the store to finally get The Big Brother a new box spring. Weeellll, you get it. Your basic task avoidance. The thought of writing on this topic and revealing what is behind my mask left me questioning which part of the pool I jumped into and if I’m a strong enough swimmer.
For two years now I have been telling certain confidantes that my insides don’t match my outside. After our Precious Baby Girl passed away suddenly, almost two years ago, the throbbing, wrenching pain of grief has held my mask in place. In an attempt to protect this gaping wound, I have “put on a brave face”, my “game face”, and tried “faking it till I make it.” To protect who? Everyone concerned I guess, but especially the three brothers our Baby Girl left behind. This type of loss is more reality than anybody should live through, let alone young children. So I put on these masks to protect them. Yes, they know, how incredibly, incredibly sad Mommy is and how much she misses their Baby Sister. Don’t get me wrong, they have seen plenty of tears shed and red rimmed eyes. However, to salvage some of their youthful innocence I try (not always successfully) to mask the rawness of my grief. My desire to crawl into a ball and never leave the safety of my bed is only surpassed by my wish for them to be okay. To have this loss be a significant and major event in their childhood but somehow not consume their youth.
So most days I find it useful to “put on my game face”, the one that drives carpool, helps at school, packs lunch, makes dinner and always tries to let my love for my children keep my mask secure. I hope someday to find the peace and strength to lay down my mask.