Thursday, June 10, 2010

Broken Record

Broken Record
Originally uploaded by
Noella Choi

My head is spinning. I had a really good day at work, meaning I was busy as hell, but accomplished a lot. For some reason I seem to have many teenagers on my caseload right now. This week has been filled with placement changes, court hearings, and the ongoing emotional breakdowns that can come with adolescence. While it has felt good to be able to help all these young people, I have been coming home just emotionally exhausted. Fortunately for me, my own young people have done a great job getting along with each other, and allowing for some quiet time each evening. Those who have raised teens know that their tempers can flare so easily. And usually, with too much time on their hands, such as this initial week of summer vacation, they are usually jumping down each other's throats.

My daughter is off with some of her girlfriends tonight, having dinner together and hanging out. So I picked up the boys from their afternoon activities so that we could run some errands and grab a quick bite to eat. Once we got home they were both off to their separate bedrooms to play on their gaming systems, so I don't expect to see them until morning.

What I feel that I must report, is that while I felt so good about my day, and my early evening, I find myself getting more and more depressed as the night goes on. I have been busy doing my nightly search for rentals down in San Diego, and feeling quite discouraged, as I don't really know when we can make the move. I'm so needing to move on, but I'm still waiting for the decision about the job, and today I decided not to give notice to my employer for another week. I'm getting a bit worried about the cost of our medical insurance, so I thought I should wait it out a little longer.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but then that is what my life appears to be of late, as I'm sitting here tearing up on and off. If it were only as simple as people think it is. I can try to keep my chin up, and I can try to focus on the positives, which I do. But I cant always control my emotions, or, more like I can't always pretend that I'm feeling better than I really am. I'm thinking that I might be feeling the weight of my loss because on Sunday it will be nine months since Michael died. It will also be the rare anniversary that the date actually falls on a Sunday, which is the day of the week that he died. It was Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 6:05 am. I try not to put too much weight on these anniversaries, and usually I can get through them fairly well. To be honest, I usually get through them fairly well in public. When I close the door behind me I find that I am once again doubled over in pain.

It's this strong, and deep, pull within me that is starting to happen. I am quite familiar with the process at this point. I was hoping to bypass it this time, thinking that I would be in a different place, literally. I'm realizing that there is just no escaping it. I'm going to just keep telling myself that these feelings are okay. These feelings are normal, and what I would expect after losing Michael. Perhaps I need to find me a mantra to say during these next few days. Any suggestions?

So here's the broken record portion of my written broadcast:

I miss Michael so much.

I miss his touch, and I miss his breath.

I am still so much in love with Michael, and I don't know how to redirect my love.

Nothing seems very important now that he is gone.

I wonder if I will ever know happiness again.

I wonder if I even want happiness again.

I have to fight the urge to go through all of his things, touch them, smell them, get lost in them.
I need to hear his voice, see him laugh and smile. All I have is a video from our wedding, which will hurt more than ever.

Nobody need worry. I will get through this. It's not the first time. It won't be the last. This broken record is destined to play over, and over, and over again.


  1. If it were only as simple as people think it is. I can try to keep my chin up, and I can try to focus on the positives, which I do. But I cant always control my emotions, or, more like I can't always pretend that I'm feeling better than I really am.

    A similar song plays on the broken record of my life too. Some people may think it stops over time, but I've come to believe that it never will - it's just that it may become more like background music that is just part of my life and I can listen to while I carry on. Sometimes, I'm told by those who don't know any better, that my thoughts of Don will fade and I won't think of him as much. Lately, I've been thinking that the response to these people should probably be - Do you love your spouse? How many times a day do you think of them? Okay, well, would you just stop thinking about her or him if s/he died? Somehow, I don't think so. But that is what many people in the world are expecting from us. That a few months after our spouses die, memory of them fades and we don't think about them any more -- like a broken toy that we gradually forget about as a kid. Doesn't work that way. As in the example of the moth which I wrote about the other day, the world is loaded with reminders, both large and small, that bring the past back to us so that it seems like it just happened yesterday. At almost 2 years, that's still happening many times a day. And how am I to "forget" when I sit here eating all of my meals alone, sleeping alone, living alone here with no one to talk to? Forget? Ha! But, I must admit, that something about me has made it so that I can get through my days without as much sadness and pain. I suppose that, given more time, that trend will continue with incremental change. We'll see. I don't know where it's all going or where it will end, but I just keep walking and looking forward.

  2. It horrifies me that I WOULD forget - good lord. To forget my love, our life, what was real? That something real and beautiful, OUR LIFE, could fade to "fond memories" just horrifies me. If love is not what is real and lasting, then nothing is. Or if the "everyday" world is what is lasting, and love is not, then I am outta here. I know who I was, and what was real, even if it has gone invisible.

    I look for a mantra too, dan - when I am so lost and in danger of freaking myself out, full of questions and doubt. Usually, if I go into meditation (aka frantic prayer, at times), I will get a word or phrase to hold onto. A tiny little firefly against impending darkness. Especially as I can no longer go to the things I used to when I was overwhelmed - can't go to matt, can't tell myself everything is alright, can't tell myself that life is unfolding as it should, focusing on my breath? My breath exists - so what. There is no way to "right" this, no truth I need to tell, or right action to take to change a situation, no way to turn that still holds me up. What is still true is love. So very often, my only life-raft/mantra is "love." Screamed, sobbed, whispered, anything at all.

    I am at 11 months this sunday (july 12, 2009, sometime around 11am, he disappeared under the water; the wardens 'found and pronounced' around 2).

  3. I hear you. And I'll listen to that broken record as often as you need to play it, because I get it.

  4. I think our lives these days is very much like a broken record, but I think we need to keep letting it play until we don't need to hear it anymore. I think that only by letting our grief wash over us, when it does, do we ever have hope of reaching calmer waters.

    My favorite saying as of late, which may be a suitable mantra at some point for you, is "Just when the catepillar thought his life was over, he became a beautiful butterfly." I found it on a plaque in a gift store and I've hung it in my bedroom. It makes me think of Austin, and what he hopefully discovered as he took his last breath. But it also applies to me, because when he died I absolutely thought my life was over. And what I'm discovering, very slowly, is that although life will never be the same and I will always miss him to the depths of my soul, there is still beauty and joy to be found in this life. Very slowly this is becoming apparent to me, so I read the saying several times a day to remind me to hold on.

    Hope you hear about the job soon!

  5. Dan, I understand; I can't live like this, and I don't want to get "better". So where does that leave one? I find the reassurance of hope distasteful, as much as I understand that we won't always feel so raw, scraped, wounded. I do find small bits of joy and beauty almost every day, but I don't want to forget any of this, even the horror and black despair. Our life together was far from perfect, even before terminal illness made everything so much harder. But I want it back. I want it back. I don't want to make the best of what is left.