Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Morning After

Hello, sun!
Originally uploaded by
Mean and Pinchy

There is nothing like the morning after...

In all things in life, our perspective is often caught up in the moment, and especially as the night comes to an end, our worries can get the best of us. This is certainly true in the way of parenting frustrations. I went to bed last night, trying to let go of the problems that ensued with the boys, but worried about what kind of a day lay ahead for us. This morning I awoke to what I should have known would occur.

When visiting my folks, and on Sunday mornings at home, I have the rare opportunity to sleep in. Yet, while this is something that is available to me in theory, it doesn't usually happen as I would like. There are usually multiple knocks on my bedroom door by the boys, with various requests that do not rise to the level of needing immediate resolution. My response is always the same, "Is this something that needs to be dealt with right now?" "Can't you just let me sleep in for once?" Somehow, this never really registers with the boys, as they don't seem to have the ability to delay whatever they are needing confirmation of.

Today was no different. I think each of my son's came in to wake me up about 5 times each. Not the kind of morning I was hoping for. But I have to say, the messages they were delivering were worth the disturbance. "Dad, I'm really sorry about last night." "Dad, I love you very much." "Dad, I will try to make things different today."

Of course I know that it will not be as simple as that, yet it is always nice to see that they in fact do have a somewhat developed super ego.

This scenario is very similar to the grieving process that I go through. Although the pain of living day to day without Michael is becoming more familiar to me, my nights alone, without him, are still quite difficult. One would think that I could will myself to be rational, or remember that things always look, and feel, better the next day. Yet, as those that are in similar circumstances as me know, we cannot escape the pain of the moment, and sometimes it compromises our ability to trust that the next day will be better.

Today is an excellent example of how this plays out. While I didn't get the extra peaceful sleep I had hoped for, my morning is going quite well. As I write this post, I am enjoying the tranquil surroundings that my parent's home provide me. I am sitting in their back patio, which is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The fragrance of the flowers is quite nice. In the distance I can hear the sounds of various birds singing their morning songs. There are many interesting insects flying by, like a beautiful large bumble bee. Except for the occasional sound of the kids in the house, there are no other sounds to compete with this wonderful moment. My parents live in a retirement community, so life here is peaceful and calm. This is the perfect reminder of what the morning after can bring. Peace, and beauty.

When I arrived yesterday I noticed that one of the homes down the lane was surrounded by cars, and there were children playing near the home. My parents explained that one of their neighbors has terminal cancer, and she is expected to die in the next week. Talk about a sobering moment. Rather than let that information pull me down into despair, I told myself to focus on feeling empathy for those that sit with their mother as she prepares to die. I don't know the family, but I certainly understand what they are going through. I know that the days ahead are very important, and that they will forever feel grateful that they were able to sit with their mother during this time. I also know that in the months ahead they will experience life in a very different, and difficult way.

I truly feel for the family across the lane. It is a reminder that this cycle of life, and death, is not unique to me. It happens everyday, and it happens to all of us. Some experience it early in life, some later, but we cannot escape it. By tonight my own words will not be of much comfort, as I have learned that as the day comes to an end my grief gets the better of me. But I can return here, read my own words, and remind myself that life will feel different the morning after.
(I will resist the urge to play the theme song from the Poseidon Adventure.)


  1. and now that song is playing in my head. it's one that, once you've heard it, sticks with you. i hope you have a good weekend with your family. i will pray that tonight is easier knowing you are surrounded by them. i know, i know. couples. but it's family and if yours is like i'd always wanted mine to be, they love you and can read you like a book. they know how to catch you when you fall. peace to you and your family.

  2. I'm sitting here in the living room, with my floating device (laptop) working at staying afloat. I didn't realize that today was my older brother and sister in law's 29th wedding anniversary. Gulp.

  3. I'm glad that your day started out better. I understand the "gulp" feeling though. Yes, that could be a source of some odd feelings. However, you are in a loving environment where you are well supported so maybe this is a good chance to test your base line - see how you're managing in what feels like an awkward situation.
    When I'm caught off guard and feeling a bit stressed by a situation, I try to tell myself to step outside of my usual state of mind and try to just "be in the moment" for awhile and enjoy other people's happiness. Seems to sometimes work for me.

  4. The morning after, always a good thing to keep in mind when nights continue to be so hard. Mornings with kids don't really allow for a lot of "me" time! And thanks for putting the song into my head! I'll be humming it for the rest of the night.

    I hope the rest of your visit and your trip home was peaceful and uneventful!

  5. It is always hardest when it starts to get dark outside. When you go to your bedroom and you are there alone. No noises to distract. The kids are asleep. The house too quiet. Things DO look better in the morning, but they don't usually last because, night always comes.

  6. My daughter is finally old enough to "let" me sleep in a bit on Saturdays. Of course, that has yet to be uninterrupted sleep, but it's nice not to have to get up before 8 at least...

    Night time is always the hardest. Even three years out I still go through phases where I don't sleep as well (although the grief is not nearly as raw as it was during the first year anymore). I hope that your own words will bring you comfort tonight and in the nights to come.