Sometimes, late at night, I feel a profound feeling of grief that grips me by shoulders, pushing me down into the murky depths of some sort of existential dread. I consider how both frighteningly short and unfathomably long the rest of my life feels, considering the complex burden of responsibility that comes with living life to its full potential – as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor.
Often it feels like I’m mourning a loss that I haven’t yet experienced. On those nights, like tonight, I soak my pillow with tears not meant for anyone in particular, except perhaps my children who are sleeping peacefully down the hall – children who I am terrified of losing.
I feel fear, love, grief, and guilt. Guilt for not routinely expressing my deepest love for them, for not saying right to their round little faces what I can so clearly articulate in my mind in the deep blue silence of the night. In the heaviness of the twilight, I yearn to wrap my arms around them and say what feels so grotesquely saccharine in the light of day. I wish I was wired for these words of affirmation. It can be torture to feel such warmth in my heart while lacking the ability to push the words out of my mouth, like a non-verbal toddler angrily banging her head against the wall because she can’t find a way to ask for more milk.
Processing these feelings can be a very lonely experience, and so I attempt to drown them out with my headphones. I can hear the low roar of a passing freight train floating above the music and for a moment, I confuse it as rolling thunder. When I realize that these cold winter nights do not produce the atmospheric electricity needed to drown out this emotional rollercoaster, I’m disappointed. It’s a little peculiar for me to crave thunder when under normal circumstances, I would feel a bit frightened by it.
What a strange person I am – fearful of the storms until I become one.