Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Missing in Action

Moon shadow - self portrait

That's me, missing in action.

I have been missing from this blog for some time now. It seemed that for the past year, this blog defined me. It provided me a much needed outlet, and it kept others connected to me.

I have also been missing in action from myself, and from my kids.

I have been really lost and overwhelmed. My life became suddenly very busy, closing escrow, packing up once again, and then moving this past weekend. On top of that I have been going through another extremely challenging time with my oldest son. I have contemplated placing him back into residential care, as our home life has begun to feel like a battleground.

With all of these challenges I have become increasingly aware that I no longer have what it takes. I am no longer capable of responding to life's difficulties the way I used to. This is no surprise, as we all know that I am a wounded soul. I guess many of you who read this might be saying the same about yourselves. And although I understand why I am this way, I don't like it. I feel like the quality of my life has been forever changed.

Funny, even through his crazy manic, rage filled days, Dante continues to complain that I am no longer the same person. He is angry that I am so depressed. He wants to see me out doing things, and to see happiness and optimism in my face. I think that for awhile, I was able to pull it off somewhat better. These days my efforts have been futile. There is nothing within my reserve, and I find myself feeling quite weary.

I fear that if I don't bounce back soon, the lives of my children will be seriously altered. Their daily lives are so complicated to begin with, that having a father who is less able to maintain the stability they seek, is only compromising whatever hopes they have of feeling secure. I wish I could just snap out of this, but being cognitively aware of my situation doesn't lend itself to any type of easy solution.

Perhaps life just gets too complicated. Perhaps God does give some of us too much to handle. Perhaps we can find ourselves lost in this sea of grief and stress. Perhaps we just go missing. For how long, I do not know.

I am lost. The old me is gone. The new me is less than.

I am missing in action.


  1. I have never commented before, but I always read. I have missed reading your posts. I hope you find peace soon.

  2. I am lost. The old me is gone. The new me is less than.

    Yes. I felt that way for a long time. Not so much lately. It has taken two years for me to be able to make that claim. Still don't think I'm anywhere near being back to the person I was, but not so "less" as I felt a year ago. Sometimes I wonder if it has been worth it to keep pushing on, but as time goes by, I guess it feels like it was. Glad to hear that you've moved into the new place. That was pretty stressful in itself. However, maybe now things will settle down - on several fronts. I hope you get some time off over the holidays. Some downtime might make a difference in how you're feeling.

  3. Dear Dan,
    I could have written that post myself. I am so lost. And more and more I realize that I am not the person I used to be. I am much less. It is disheartening.
    I however, do not have adolesent children at home and in my care. My children are young adults. I cannot imagine the added stress of that responsibility. And adolescents with developmental difficulties as well. I feel for you. Are there any services that you can tap into to assist you on a regular basis? Respite Care? Housekeeping? Family? I encourage you to reach out and get the help that you need, or that will assist you in coping.
    Don't beat yourself up, Dan! You didn't ask for this and you are doing the best that you can at any given moment. Right? No one can do more than that. Remember that you are an amazing, beautiful man. Michael loved you for who you are, even if you are changed.
    I remember a post from Widow's Voice about being widowed - something along the lines of: We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. It is an arduous journey and many of us are lost in the valley. That image holds true for me. I am lost and you are lost and so many of us are lost and trying to make our way through the valley. Hang in there good man.
    Lots of love,

  4. It's not a matter of less or more. Michael added to you but he didn't subtract from who you started as when he died.

    You are swamped at the moment and children are keenly aware when we are not as focused/have too many balls in the air and it scares them because they imagine that their safety is compromised and they act out.

    But maybe you should listen to your son when he says you need to get out and be engaged in the world? Practice a little optimism? We can talk ourselves into or out of more than most people care to realize.

    You are not lost. You just aren't thrilled with your location, and being MIA is a choice. Sometimes retreating for a bit is a good way to get a second wind but eventually, one has to come back, make a plan and execute it.

    Are you taking time for you? Doing at least one "selfishly" you thing a day? Take care of you and everything else will fall into place. It will get better.

  5. I remember that 2nd year... I didn't have the strength or know-how to do more than just get through the work day. I wasn't able to give to my teens, and unfortunately we all paid a price.
    But, we made it. You won't always feel the way you feel today... I promise.

  6. No words of wisdom. I understand and I love you, my friend. I pray you are able to find some peace in your new home. Perhaps once you start to feel more settled you'll be able to find yourself a little easier. Please keep in touch and let us know how you're doing.

  7. wishing you happiness - have been worried about you.

  8. In a way, I think it's great that your son has told you how he misses seeing you happy.

    But I hear your concern. What do you think he's getting at? Do you think he wants to talk about what changes might lie ahead for you and him? Do you think he's disappointed that one year wasn't a magical turning point? His brain is growing rapidly and he may have new ideas you haven't talked through yet.

    I don't know, I just wonder what else he's thinking now that he's feeling the loss of "the old you." And I also know that as a sensitive, articulate, great listener you'll be able to get it out of him.

    I can really totally wait until my kid is a teenager. I'm sure it'll be here before i know it and I'll just want to hide in my bedroom....

    Hugs to you and your family!

  9. Dan, Just remember that this doesn't last forever. As hard as it is right now, and as lost as you feel in this everyday life you didn't plan...there is a future out there for you. And it is wonderful. It doesn't matter if you can't imagine it or figure out how to get there. Just don't give up on the possibility. Live each day and know that there is only one you. No one else in the world can be the person that you are meant to be. Your story includes the death of your husband, a man you loved with your whole heart. But that does not have to be the final chapter of your story. Pick up your pen friend. There is much left to write.

    Sending love and wishes for some moments of peace from the teen angst.