Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Being Real

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I'm really hesitant to write tonight. I am feeling far too vulnerable. The last thing I really want to create here is a pity party. But if I am to be creating a honest day to day chronicle of my grieving process, then there is really no choice to make.

The days events were not bad, but definitely charged, and quite draining. Even those segments of the day that I felt quite good about, still required an enormous amount of energy. By early evening I was in the car, heading home with the boys, realizing once again, that it was far too late to make dinner. Between my schedule, and the after school activities of the boys, my days have become longer and longer. I realize that a big addition to my daily must do's has been having my 16 year old son living back at home. His daily jiu jitsu lessons have become a significant factor in a very successful transition home, yet it has meant getting home 2 hours later than usual. I'm pleased with the return on this additionally two hour investment, but am definitely seeing a coexistent cost of less healthy meals, and big financial expenditures. I am also finding that my income is not getting me through to my next pay check. I keep having to dip into the savings I have, which is something I said I wouldn't do.

It's really difficult to go through the loss of Michael, deal with the emotional fallout, overcompensate for the kids' pain by taking them out to eat and do things out of the house. Each of these has increased the amount of money I am spending, while I am also being less responsible about paying the monthly bills. The only reason I have a savings to fall back on is because Michael left me some money to help me out with the kids, and to put a little away for school expenses. I hate dipping into it, as it feels like I should be using the money for something more important. Yet I am clearly finding that being back on a single income budget is not so easy.

All of these issues are valid concerns tonight, yet I am also very aware that it is easier to write about them, than about my true feelings.

On the way home tonight, I was circling the block around a taqueria, hoping to find a parking spot so I could run in to buy our dinner. Walking across the street was a good friend, so I had a very brief moment to connect with her. Yet as she walked away, and I continued on my search for a parking spot, I found that I was exerting an enormous amount of strength fighting back tears. I manage well enough until I arrived home. I quickly put out the food for the boys, then moved down to my bedroom. As soon as the door shut behind me I felt kicked in the gut. I was doubled over in pain, and tears came gushing out. Even as I sit here, I feel nauseous, and know that there is much more crying to be done.

My daughter arrived home about an hour ago. It was good to check in with her about some concerns, and to admit that I was having a very difficult evening. After she, and our dog Ranger, retreated into her bedroom, our cat, Carelli, came over and laid at my side. He is sleeping on my right arm as I struggle to type. And although it is sweet to have him so comfortable upon me, his warmth has me missing Michael's touch more than ever. It is all so painful. Earlier my two sons asked me if today was a significant anniversary of something related to Michael. I said no, not that I am aware of. I don't know why I am having such a hard time. I just am.

A couple of days ago I received a card from the staff of the hospice we used six months ago. They were just reminding me that they are there, and that they are thinking of me. They wanted to let me know that many find these second six months to be more difficult that expected, and wanted to offer their services if needed. I thought it was very nice of them to think of me. I suppose it also reminded me of a very difficult period of time. Anything these days feels like a mixed bag.

I'll end now. There is so much ahead for me. So much I would rather not feel. So much I would rather not face. I'm not so sure this life has much to offer me, other than sadness and disappointment. I'm going to resist the urge to apologize for being such a downer. I'm just being real.


  1. i can only say i understand this depth of pain, the worry over money, and the frustration to rectify the either. it feels like walking a treadmill. we're working so hard but not getting anywhere while we get more and more tired. i sympathize greatly with what you are feeling though my children are grown and their day-to-day needs are under their own control.

    i wish i could ease your burdens. i wish could find a way to ease all of our burdens, but it will never be that way. i can only be here to read. i can only be here to let you know i understand and think of you. i wish you peace and rest.

  2. When I read about what must be a typical day for you, I can't help but think "something's gotta give." Sounds like you're becoming over-committed. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so much energy to keep going. This isn't a time management issue. It's just plain old reality. On top of that, as many of us have mentioned in the past, dealing with loss really takes it's toll on us. We need recovery time - and I would say that, in your situation, after caring for Michael in the months before his death, you're probably still recovering from that too. I think it took me a good eight or nine months to put a dent in the fatigue I felt after a year of caring for Don and getting him to all of his medical appointments, visiting him in the hospital during the times when he had to be there, etc... Unfortunately, I can't offer much in the way of practical suggestions and I also don't like to express opinions too much -- but -- I do suspect you need more rest and down time. In fact, it sounds like it may be becoming a critical issue. Could this be an instance in which you could discuss this with your family and try to come up with some solutions -- kids, can you get more involved in meal preparation, etc..?
    As for the money issue. Yes, I think we probably all go through that, especially soon after our partner dies. I don't really know why it was, but my burn rate on cash went up for awhile after Don died. It freaked me out a bit at the time. However, after a few months, I got things sorted out and realized that there had been a lot of one time expenses and I got my budget back under control. Maybe you're going through some of that right now. Also, when we're rushed and just don't have time, we do tend to spend more than when we have time to cook meals, find cheaper ways of doing things, etc.. Maybe once things let up a bit, everything will start to slide back into order.
    Oh, and there's nothing wrong with being real. (-:

  3. Money is not a small issue. Especially in these times. The loss of my late husband's income was significant. I was fortunate to have a wonderful Auntie who helped me out or I would have lost our home. I went back to grad school to secure my masters, which added to my stress but was necessary. There was always too much to to and not enough day and that was just with one small child who didn't have me running here and there yet.

    Sometimes our bodies are a bit ahead of our conscious minds and initiate tears before we realize why they are needed. I found the last six months of the first year harder because I was so frustrated trying to make life work on my own. Which was odd. My late husband had been in either nursing home or hospice for 15 months prior to his death. I managed that. But there was the added pressure of feeling that I needed to be moving my life along and it was stuck and not what I wanted it to be.

    It's important, I think, to know some quiet time and joy during this time. I indulged in stocking my iPod with tunes from my youth and walking. A very small thing. And I started writing again.

    You will be okay. We all get to this place and we all come back. Be well.

  4. I've got nothing more to add, except I completely get it and I'm thinking of you and your family today, like I do every day :) Hope today is better.

  5. I love you Daddy! see you tonite