December 2001 and January 2002 were really huge months for us. We got engaged on the 22nd of December, bought a house within the first weeks of January and started planning our wedding (booking the church, the hall, etc.).
And then I got laid off.
All's well that ends well. I had a really productive year freelancing before finding a four day per week contract a few months before the wedding (which is where I stayed until Thomas was born).
But those few heady weeks - big decisions, big purchases, big shock - wore on both of us. My Beloved found the joy of the panic attack (something I remember all too well from my university days) and I developed a weird little tick. I used to wake up in the night and frantically feel for my engagement ring with my thumb to make sure it was there. I have no idea why. It was sized and fit like a glove (to this day it has never accidentally slipped off) but I just needed to make sure it was there. It was always during the night, my frantic ring-checking.
The first night it happened was the night we got engaged. I put it down to not actually believing that wonderful question had actually been asked - to thinking it was all a dream. Feeling the ring made it real.
But I continued to wake myself up feeling for the ring long after I stopped worrying that the proposal was a figment of my imagination. I suppose the stress of that year - seeing the money literally flying out of our wallets as we put downpayments on everything from our house to the twinkle lights they used at our reception, and knowing that I was leaving my old life behind - wore on me more than I realized. The little tick was just my way of releasing that nervous energy, I suppose.
Eventually it went away. We got married and happily settled into our lives and the peace I found made the tick a thing of the past.
My little tick is back with a vengeance. Every night I wake myself up feeling for my rings. It's such a strange feeling. I wake up in a panic fearing that I've lost my rings and then sigh with relief and immediately fall back to sleep when I realize that they're still there. I barely remember it in the morning.
I can't quite remember when it started up again, but I think it was a few months ago. If I had to hazard a guess I'd say it was around Thanksgiving - the first big celebration without our boy.
I've been trying not to get upset - not to let myself think too hard about what's missing from Christmas this year. I've done my baking, my entertaining, my shopping and my wrapping - and I've done it all without giving deep thought to the tiny boy who should have been with me during it all.
Don't get me wrong, I think about him every day. Sometimes it feels like it's every second of every day. But I haven't really let myself mourn for him, for the Christmas that should have been, I mean. I can't deal with it - I don't want that dam to burst because I don't know how on earth I'd ever repair it.
I know it's not healthy. I know because the tick is back. But I'd far rather wake myself up grasping for my rings every night than stand in front of the tree Thomas will never see sobbing every day.
You do what you have to do.