pieces of me

The beneficial effects of my two-month vacation waned rapidly. The first days back were OK but then life resumed, and here we go again with the hotness in the pit of my stomach and the weight of everything pressing down on my sternum. That slow, dull ache.

I shouldn’t whine. I hate to whine. I am really so very incredibly lucky in the big scheme of things. The boys keep me busy and merry and put everything else in perspective. My friends invite me out all the time and my parents and siblings check up on me constantly. I have never felt so loved by so many people. And yet I can’t shake this feeling that I could fall apart at any time, that actual pieces of me might break off and scatter, right now even, if I were to move too quickly without collecting myself first.

Running helps, and my kids. And remembering that nothing is forever. This will get better. It will! It must! I am not going to lose an arm tonight. My head will not fall off tomorrow.

What I worry about the most (other than succumbing to a rare form of anxiety-driven leprosy) is how this will affect my children. That I won’t be able to hold myself together and they will be traumatized for the rest of their lives. So I take deep breaths and smile. We have crepes with Nutella for breakfast if that’s what they ask for, and if they want to sleep in my bed, that’s OK too. An extra story at bedtime? A ride in my arms up the stairs? You want me to play cars, again? Yes, yes and yes.

I half pretend to do this all for them, but really, they are what’s holding me together.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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8 Responses to pieces of me

  1. Sara says:

    Once again, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. You’re right, it will get better, but it’s still OK for you to feel this way. I’m sorry I don’t have any other advice for you, but just know that there are lots of people out here that do care.

  2. Jennifer says:

    You are in my thoughts. Un abbraccio.

  3. oldmdgirl says:

    It is going to get better, it will just take some time.

  4. k_sam says:

    I can only echo what the others have said – it will get better. But right now, it’s also okay to have moments of doubt and sadness too. The fact that you are still in the same village (town?) as before must make it even more difficult. It’s been 3 & 1/2 years for me, and it still tugs at my heart every time I go back to my old town. All the memories, etc. But then again, maybe for you it will be like you said – with time, you will build new memories. They may not completely erase the old ones, but they will layer over them and make the pain fade with time. I guess that’s why the old clichĂ© of taking things one day at a time still holds true.

  5. meredith says:

    Like the others said, it will get better. Lean on those friends and family that love you, breathe in the love of your boys when breathing hurts and believe that time really does help heal.

  6. L says:

    You are wise to appreciate that so many people love you, that it will take time, and that nothing is forever. In spite of the fact that you understandably fear you’ll fall apart, you are a lot more together than many people I know!

  7. Tanya says:

    This too shall pass, but I think it’s okay to let the boys see you’re hurting. You’re sad about the changes in your lives and they’ll remember that as caring. You’re strength is inspiring.

  8. Manisha says:

    Some of us will always look to you for perspective and joy. Just breathe. Lots of love to you and the boys. Manisha

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