Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tidal Waves

This weekend my brother, my beloved "Middle Mouse" (I'm Big Mouse as the oldest, you get the idea...) had a health scare. A scare that held terrifying echoes of Jason's illness. Thankfully,  he is & will be ok. I got to see him and hug him yesterday and the relief of realizing that he was going to be fine was astounding... I took a breath I realized I had been holding for two days. Muscles unknotted that I didn't know were clenched. And now I have a confession to make:
I did not react well. At all. I didn't rush to his side immediately. I barely could talk about it. I didn't text him right away. I could not be there for him.

I was paralysed. I was so scared at the thought of losing him - of watching his amazing wife and beautiful daughters try to weather that pain, of seeing my parents tossed back into such a nightmare- that I froze. I tried to soldier through. I tried to not think about it. And you can guess how that worked out.

I am failing at things. It is so hard to admit that, but it is the truth. I am so stretched tight that I have no give... I cannot live my life the way I want to right now. Objectivity and logic are drowned out in pure adrenaline fueled panic and confusion. What do we do when we are no longer the person we were? When our brain and body will not behave according to our wishes? When we realize we are very much naked in the storm?

For me, I think I may need to start internalizing the messages from the people I love and trust. The people who are telling me to take care of myself, to be kind and gentle with myself. To listen to myself. To forgive myself and to start to let go.

I cannot let this experience ruin me. I need to accept the change, in my life and I myself. I need to let go of the guilt.

I am adapting to his absence.  That is healthy... not a sign of disloyalty. It doesn't mean I didn't love him, that I didn't fight hard enough for him. I did... and he died anyway. Carrying on with my life is the only sane and healthy choice I can make.

I am enough for my children. They lost their father and it was and will continue to be a brutal experience.  First and foremost they need their mama. And I am getting there again. As shame filled as I am about my behavior in the past months, I know I was just surviving. I am not superwoman or June Cleaver. I made some mistakes and now I will make them right. I need my children and they need me. And there is no one who can do a better job of helping them heal and thrive and emerge into amazing people.  We are a family, as we are.

So I'm choosing to take a little time off work... I'm very lucky to have this option, it will make things extremely tight financially,  but I really need some time. I need to come back to the land of the living and get stronger. And I will. Because through all of this I've had a deeo seated feeling that I will be ok. It's going to be ok.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A New Season

Last week in my grief support group we spoke about fall and how it is/will be a trigger for many of us. The winding down of a year & the beginning of the holidays,  can be an understandably difficult time. I realized this morning, as my daughter and I walked to her school with our dog, that this will be our third season without Jason. He died in the winter, spring passed in a fog and summer is all but gone. And so here we go, heading into the months when he was sick.

In the last few months, I have bounced back and forth between "ok, this is getting (definitely not easier) more bearable" & "fuck this, I hate this, I can't do this, I don't want this life anymore" more times than a vigorous game of pinball.  I wish I could say that I've been working hard at being ok but more than anything I've just compartmentalized.... probably a little too well. I am still numb & foggy, a lot of the time. I drink more than I should. I am ashamed... away, absent from my children much more than I want to admit. I can't seem to quit smoking.

I have a tentative goal of being tobacco free by the one year mark of Jason's death. In fact, that is a tradition I want to practice, for him & myself. I want to honor his life & death by accomplishing a goal each year. I guess I still want him to be proud of me. I still wish he could love me. I still fight the feeling that I failed him.

Giving up is my greatest fear at this point.  That I will lose my composure and spiral into something I can't get out of. That I will break, again, and my weakness will be exposed for the world to see. It is easier to pretend that I am ok. And the more I pretend,  the more I avert my gaze from his pictures and lock my feelings about him and his death into a box in my head, the more it becomes easier to cope. I am afraid that that box may grow so heavy, the lock encrusted with rust, that I will not be able to open it when I need to. I really don't cry a whole lot anymore, I am distracted and distanced from my pain and I am fairly certain it isn't healthy. But, it is so hard to see through the fog, so hard to admit how exhausted I am all the time, so hard to continue to feel needy and unbalanced. Keeping that box firmly closed? Right now it is the only way I can manage.

But, there have been some goods things too... it helps to list out what I HAVE done, it makes me see that I am still trying. I have:

Gone back to work. I can't say I'm a model employee & I am extremely distracted,  but I am trying. And work, for me, is a very good thing. I need the zen I get from the kitchen.

The kids & I still attend our grief support groups. We also have tried a couple different alternative healing therapies that have been immensely helpful.

I found a therapist who I really like and trust and he will be seeing us all individually & together.

I have a good psychiatrist who helped me to find a good combination of medicines for me to help manage my depression. Some months i have been able to be a little less dependant on antianxiety meds. I can cope better with the panic attacks and sad spirals.

I started cooking dinner more often. Not everyday, not even most days. But at least a couple times a week I cook a homemade meal for all of us. I don't know why that is such a hard thing for me, but it is.

I hired a house cleaner to come once a week and barring my swiffer wetjet and the trampoline it is the best money I have ever spent. I wish I could fford her twice a week, I think that would be perfect... and I'm going to try to find room in my budget to make that happen.

I have been exercising.  Not nearly often or consistently enough,  but a lot more than I used to. It feels good and it is something I need to make a priority.

I've taken the kids on several daytrips. We had fun at the beach  lot this summer & the kids dabbled in body boarding.

One of my best friends and I went to an epic comedy festival... I got to see some of my very favorites: hannibal buress, flight of the conchords. And DAVE MOTHERFUCKING CHAPPELLE.  So, so inspiring.  I WILL do that someday.

I wrote a paid article for an online publication.

I bellydanced and it was really fun.

I also started dating. Too soon? Maybe,  for others, but not for me. I loved and had the love of an amazing man, who wanted me to find love, companionship and comfort again. Who told our children that he hoped mommy would find somebody to love again, who could be a friend and love them just as much as he did. His selflessness and bravery leaves me in awe... in the face of his death, he just wanted us to be happy and cared for. And I want that too. I went on some dates, had some fun and some not so much fun. And I met someone,  who I like a lot. Our relationship so far is very natural and feels very right. He is kind, caring, fun and makes me very happy.  The spark is definitely there and I am  a little nervous but excited to see where it goes. :)

Im sure there are other things, but I've already made myself feel better, so that's enough for now.