Thursday, January 28, 2010


Under Control
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In the English language, blue may refer to the feeling of sadness. "He was feeling blue". This is because blue was related to rain, or storms, and in Greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying), and a storm when he was angry.

Blue is how I would describe my mood today. It's not a deep dark blue, like how you would imagine down deep in a well of despair. I have had many days like that in the past. It is hard to know if those days are now behind me. I certainly hope so.

Today's blue is calm, cool, but not collected. I actually feel a bit scattered in my thoughts. Earlier I was looking out my bedroom window, and could feel the coolness of the air permeate through the glass. When I looked up at the sky I saw that it's color was becoming deeper the longer I sat.

Deep Blue Dreams
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One thing that I have noticed, and I don't know if this is primarily a male thing, but when I am feeling sad, or blue, I can easily get angered. The kids might say something to me, and without warning I erupt. So much for the calm and cool. I don't like when this happens, as then I am suddenly seeing red. At least I have some awareness of this, and am trying to work on this. (Note to self, "cool it")

I really feel for my kids. This cannot be an easy time for them. They also lost someone. They too tried to prepare for his loss, but as we adults know, all the preparation in the world is not going to necessarily make it any easier. What I worry about is not only did they lose their step dad, but for the past four months they have lost a big part of me.

I am just not as present as I used to. I go through the motions each day, waking them, reminding them to be prepared for their day, and making sure they have homework done, and something to eat before the end of the night. What is lost is the parts in between. I suppose it is what we consider the joy of living. I tend to take a lackluster approach to life these days. I am trying to work on it, and some days I have a better handle on it than others. My kids need more, probably more than I can give at the moment.

I'm aware that I am in a much better place psychologically these past few weeks. The kids don't find me completely falling apart. They see more of the quiet side of me. I am often lost in my thoughts or teary eyed. That part seems okay with them. And, I suppose it could always be worse, right?

I tell myself that what I am doing is enough. This is a message that a previous therapist used to tell me. When your kids need so much, it often feels like you are always falling short. My 16 year old son just called to talk to me on the phone. During the week he lives in a residential program for boys with emotional challenges. I am currently looking for a new school for him here in San Francisco. The idea that he will be back at home full time has him very excited, yet also quite anxious. Tonight he called to talk about his feelings, and to let me know that his day didn't go very well. As he was speaking I found myself feeling anxious as well. He then stopped and asked how my day went. I told him it went fine, and that his younger brother had a couple of appointments I needed to get him to, so I was only able to work half a day. He said that I sounded sad, which I confirmed that he was very perceptive. I assured him that I would be fine, and that this was just part of what my days are like. He seemed to understand.

Just thinking about that conversation makes me appreciate my son. Even with all his challenges, he offers me so much. I know that we will have some difficult times ahead as a family. We are all grieving, and we are all needing to keep moving forward.

Blue Heaven
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My mood appears to be picking up. Taking the time to write is such a powerful medium for me. The process always helps me to better identify what I am feeling. Once I can identify it, then is doesn't feel so burdensome or overwhelming. I am then better able to just sit with my sadness, sit in shades of blue.


  1. It sounds like writing is very therapeutic for you. You put words together in such a beautiful way. It seems to me that you have pretty wonderful kids who care about you very much. That is such a gift. And, yes, there's more than one loss, isn't there?

  2. I can certainly relate to the kids feeling like they have lost more than one parent. I, too, feel that I am not the same mom I once was, and that is hard on me, just as I'm sure it is on them. But, I am thankful that, though I may not be as present in play and as fun as I once was, and though during the day I am often more 'grouchy' or short tempered (the lack of sleep impacts this a lot) than before, I still manage to show them, and tell them constantly how much I love them - and how much their Daddy loves them.

    It's very hard for me to accept the fact that he is not here to tell them himself, and I want to make sure they know it.

    I'm so glad you have found writing helpful. I also appreciate that you write 'in real time' as you mentioned on your last post. I try to do the same - sometimes, even the next day, I won't even remember what it is I wrote . . . but it's important to honour that.


  3. i've always believed that our children look to us when we aren't aware they are looking. how did we handle that? how did that affect us? from the little annoyances of rudeness from strangers to the greater tortures of facing the death of our spouse, our children watch us and know the nuances of our faces and the tones in our voices. they watched you give gentle and loving care to the man you loved. now they are watching what grief is like. they see the lasting effects of love and the grace in which you are dealing with this life altering blow. they see your pain, your struggle, your writing, exposing your soul to help yourself and to help others who are searching for answers. they are seeing a parent who is a wonderful example in dealing with one of the most terrible things that can happen to a person.

    it doesn't comfort you right now, probably, to be this great example, but someday, i'm hoping you'll at your children when they are facing a rough challenge and suddenly see a lot of your own coping skills in them. you'll see a lot of yourself, and Michael, in them.

    anyway, blue is not so bad. it's a lovely color. it's the color of the sky and the ocean.

  4. Wow, what a lot to think about. I completely relate to what you wrote about Dan. Like you and Chelsea, I feel bad that I'm not the same parent I was before my husband died and I was getting wrapped in the warm feeling when I know one or more of you out there are going through the same emotions I am. It's a warm feeling of just appreciating that another human being gets it, I'm not crazy, and I'm not alone. And then wNs provided such amazing wisdom, as she often does. She's right. We are giving our children a powerful gift in facing our grief head on with such thoughtfulness. I never thought about it in such a way before. This is a precious life lesson that we are teaching our children, just by our example. I hope I don't screw it up!

    Wishing you a peaceful and serene weekend, Dan. And I agree with wNs that blue is a lovely colour - it's one of my favourites.

  5. Yes, writing has become very therapeutic for me.

    I think it will take some time for myself, and the kids, to come to terms with how Michael's death has changed me, or us as a family. In many ways we become less naive about life. Although my kids never met their bio-mom, we also learned of her death a couple of years ago. All of this loss will shape their lives. I can only hope and pray that these early losses can be of benefit to their own later journeys as adults.

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts.


  6. I tend to always focus and dwell on all the things my sons have lost stemming from the death of their Dad at ages 9 and 10. I want to try and make a shift in my attitude by reflecting on all that they have gained from this life-altering tragedy.

    It is funny that just a day or so ago, I came across the definition of feeling blue and its origins.

    I thank you for posting because it has caused me to make a shift in my mindset. This also comes from the comments of others too in response to your words. I particularly liked the simple observation of wNs about blue being a lovely color.