I’m not going to lie, I have a love/hate relationship with the fourth of July. You know how some people have a hard time with “certain” anniversaries every year? Well, depending on what kind of anniversary it is, it can be VERY haunting. For me, that’s the fourth of July, and pretty much all that comes with it.
When I was 5 1/2 years old, my father passed away from a massive heart attack. The date was July 2, 1984.
When I was a kid, my mother remarried an amazing man who then raised me and became my dad, and we had INSANE fourth of July holidays. I’m talking 1980’s style right out of a movie. People laying out by the pool, kegs, boom box radios, sparklers, the packed pool, it was magic, seriously. I was too young to feel the PTSD yet, but then again, my mom was right next to me, and when I was with her, I felt safe.
I think besides the 80s, the only July 4th holidays I actually enjoyed, were when I lived on the lake. Then again, nothing could bring me down when I lived on the lake! It’s where I fell in love with my husband, where I had people over to watch the fireworks (including my mother). It felt magical, and it really, really was. But when we moved, the sadness sunk its way back in.
There’s just something about hearing fireworks and people screaming, I’m sent right back to my 5 1/2 year old self. I am being carried down my childhood home’s street, waiting for the fate and the news on my father. The fireworks aren’t ones I want to hear, they hurt my brain at the time, and they become reminders in the future. They are the noises of the pain, and the silence of it. They symbolize to me one of the worst days of my life, every single year. The knowing and the not knowing of what was happening to my family. The emptiness I was feeling inside, while everyone else was outside, partying as if nothing had happened.
So, here I am today, already anxious about the holiday, which is in exactly one week. I kind of want to crawl in a hole and do nothing. That’s what pregnant women are allowed to do right? I kind of want to crawl into my mom’s lap and have her hold me and tell me everything is going to be alright. That’s what moms are for right? It’s coming, and I’m haunted already.
The silver lining, is that I have hope. Hope that my immediate family invents a new ritual for the fourth. One where fireworks don’t remind me of a time I was learning that my dad would never come back as the soundtrack. I am hoping that I’ll live through the eyes of my children, and their innocent hearts and open eyes will build back my love for the holiday, and all that is summer. I have hope. I also have desire. The desire to invent a new way to celebrate the holiday, new traditions within my growing family, and something to look forward to every year, instead of getting anxious about it, when others around me are rejoicing. Sadly, I’m usually not. I’m reminded of the worst week of my life, and my heart yearns for my own mother, so that I know she won’t leave me too.
Crazy right? That I can transform back into the mind of a little girl at times. My hope, is that I am now a mother, and that alone will give me the strength to build a “new”. A new way of life in many, many, ways.
There are always going to be things that haunt us, but changing the fear into happiness is what it’s all about. I just know that we can reinvent the holiday to make me love it again, and that’s where the real transformation will happen.
Are there dates or holidays that haunt you? How do you cope with the past, and turn it around into something new and positive?
Rock on, and Namaste!