In our relationship, Mike is the pessimist and I’m the optimist. Some of it is our personalities, some is life experiences. When Mike is down about something, I pump him up. When I am overly excited, he brings me back to earth. For ten years, we’ve filled those roles, and it’s worked for us.

I used to believe that all my dreams would come true. I wasn’t naive enough to think that everything would go the way I planned, but I was young and thought that if I worked hard and lived right, I could achieve everything I wanted. Setbacks were temporary. I was annoyingly confident. I was always able to come back from whatever life threw at me, because I believed everything would work out.

And you know, I think after Maddie died, I bounced back because it was habit – almost reflex. I also had Annie coming, and frankly, I was too numb to do anything else but bounce back. My optimism eventually returned, although not like it was before. And that would have been fine. But then my friend died, my aunt died, I miscarried, and Jackie died, and now my optimism is a shell of what it was.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to completely give in and lose the shards of optimism I have left. Would it be easier? I am so bruised from all the bouncing back. I don’t want to do it anymore – don’t want to have to do it anymore, more precisely. But I know more bad things are waiting for me down the road, that’s how life works. And the old me is in there somewhere, saying, “You can do this. It’s just a setback. You’ll recover.”

The old me is exhausting. The current me is exhausted. The future me…I don’t know. I hope she can keep bouncing.