Hangovers. They are the worst.
Most of the time when you think of hangovers, you think of drinking too much. You feel crappy in the morning...headaches, nausea, tired. You just want to lay around. But with sleep, water, and food, you end up feeling better by the end of the day.
Then you have weekend hangover. Sunday nights when you are dreading to go back to work. You may even have the Sunday night blues...realizing you have another work week ahead filled with meetings that could have been emails, false deadlines and the urgent need to get everything done. Such a fun weekend and then you feel like you don't want to get out of bed to go to work. Just like in the movie Office Space, you have a "case of the Mondays". Once you get into work though, you start knocking things off of your to-do list and forget about how rotten you were feeling in the morning.
Next is the winter/spring break hangover. You take a trip and have so much fun, but when it is time to "get back to reality", it hits you. The sadness that all the "fun" is over and you have to get back to your "real life". You post things on social media saying, "does this have to end" or "wish we could stay here forever". Then you drag yourself to the airport or to your car and make your way back home. Then you spend a day laying around the house, doing laundry, getting groceries and figuring out what your week is going to look like. Again though, you get back into your normal rhythm and routine. You miss vacation, but you know you will go on another one.
The happiness hangover relates to all of these examples. You are feeling so great and then it hits you, you have to go back to reality.
For a grieving parent, the happiness hangover hits you harder than any other type.
We just took our two oldest girls on an impromptu vacation for spring break. They loved it. We flew to NYC and took them to Manhattan. We flew to Miami and took them to the beach. We drove to Orlando and took them to Universal Studios. We smiled, we laughed and we enjoyed being a family of 4. During this entire vacation though, our daughter Sloane was never far from our minds. Each time we showed 4 fingers to signify how many people in our group, it was a stark reminder that we are missing our little girl. Our family of 4 should be a party of 5. Every time we posed for a family photo, we were missing Sloane in the picture. The best we could do was the necklace I wear with her fingerprint on it.
Despite all of the happiness we felt for Cora and Quinn, we were still so heartbroken on the inside. Just like a hangover, we had headaches, felt nauseous, were tired, dreaded the vacation to end, didn't want to go back to work, but most of all, we hated having to "go back to reality". Because our reality is that walking into our house, seeing Sloane's bedroom, and sitting at the dinner table without her is the worst feeling. We were feeling such happiness with our girls and then, well then we return to the reality over and over again that Sloane is gone from this world.
No matter the hangover, the happiness hangover is not something I would wish on anyone. We smile and laugh with our girls, but it all comes with a price. That price is the feeling of despair when it all ends and you remember how awful it is to lose a child.