So FB asked me “how’s it going.” Well it’s ok but not great. I keep trying to convince myself that it’s great, but the fact is that my rudder is all messed up, I question most everything I do, and I’m lonely, especially on evenings like tonight when I do things I used to do with Adam, with people who knew him. One of the guys knew him longer than I did, and they were in the same profession. He’s heading off to a business meeting tomorrow, and I realized that I miss the conversations about these business trips.

Also, no one will talk to me about Adam. It’s like he didn’t exist. I try to set the stage by talking about him myself, thereby keeping him alive, but others seem reluctant. Not everybody; mostly people I don’t see often. Not talking about him makes me sad. I don’t want to pretend that he was never here. He was always here for me, even before I knew him.

So if you know someone who is grieving, try to take a cue from them regarding the remembrance of their loved one. I’m betting that they’d like you to mention that person, to talk about them almost as if they were still here. Because they are still influenicing the lives of those they’ve left behind, and that needs to be acknowledged.

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Morass of Misery

I was ecstatic for about 15 minutes yesterday, and enjoyed that ecstasy very much. But, as these sorts of strong emotions usually go, the feeling was exceedingly fleeting.

You see, yesterday I closed out Adam’s legal estate. After months of facing mind-numbing paperwork, it was finally done. What a relief. On my personal facebook page I sought company for a champagne toast.

But before I could have a toast I needed to do an errand. I hadn’t been in the store for five minutes before my daughter texted me that one of her teachers, the mother of an infant son, has breast cancer. This woman is so bubbly and bright. She had just concluded the school year with a brilliant performance by her students (which made my cry, by the way), and endured the loss of her father-in-law in the midst of another performance in which she played a key role. I was devastated.

And then came the sinking feeling. I’d managed to convince myself to be elated at having closed out Adam’s estate, rather than letting it haunt me as just another marker of the end of his life. I’d even ignored the fact that our funeral director was sitting in the clerk’s chair minutes before I was. Trying to be glad to see him because he’s a great guy.

But as the sadness for this teacher began to overcome me, I started to feel, as well, the sadness for another friend who lost her mother on Mother’s Day. And then came my personal sadness on top of all that.

But I was in the middle of a shopping center where no one knew or cared what I was thinking about. Suddenly I couldn’t make any decisions about what I was shopping for. I left. Sometimes I can “shop-off” these feelings, so I gave that a try. But I couldn’t concentrate on anything and achieved nothing, frustrated.

For the rest of the day I was touchy. My blood pressure was high; I could feel it. I can feel it again today. I don’t know what to do with these feelings. I can’t ignore them. I feel like the whole world is just one great morass of misery. I’m taking too personally the crises of others and I know that’s not good for me but right now I’m helpless.

My summer schedule, which was going to offer some relief, blew up last night when I discovered that I’d recorded the wrong week for one of my kids’ camps, and that I was now obligated to start from scratch planning a trip to the beach.

How can you go from feeling strong and in a healthy place psychologically to a place of despair so quickly? And why can’t you get back to the happy place as quickly as you went into despair?

Anger

Not much luck dealing with that anger I talked about in my last post. It’s a disturbing emotion that I’d rather ignore. The adrenaline, the feeling of being out of control, the self-deprecation born of a lack of trust in the validity of this unwanted emotion–all of it is just a place I want to avoid. I’ve done a very good job.

Today while watching CBS This Morning, I got a little nudge. They interviewed the author of a new book titled How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God. Ian Punnett happens to be an Episcopal clergyman, and I happen to be an Episcopalian. Ok, fine, I said to myself; you’d best pay attention because it doesn’t get any more obvious than this.

I’ve downloaded the book to my Kindle, and although I’m only on Chapter 2, I’ve done an awful lot of highlighting and am starting to have some clarity about this whole issue.

My attitude til now has been this: Isn’t anger supposed to take a direct object? Can you be angry, generally, without being angry with someone? Doesn’t anger require blame? And if so, how on earth are you supposed to be angry with/blame God? Doesn’t he have a divine plan that’s in everyone’s best interest? That’s what we’ve been taught since our first days in Sunday School. Doesn’t this make it arrogant to say, “Well, Father, guess what? I pretty much hate this little plan of yours”?

My fervent hope is that my new book will teach me a thing or two. If it does, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned. Because I’ll bet that you’re angry too.

Mothers’ Day

I’ve been AWOL. I couldn’t help it. All I’ve wanted to do is put these upcoming anniversaries in a deep-storage box and lock them away. I can’t face them. As soon as they rise, I consciously think of something else so I don’t have to go there.

First it was the craniotomy anniversary in April. My therapist helped me understand that the anniversary loomed so large because really, that was the first undeniable, physical, in-your-face acknowledgement that this was bad and probably wasn’t going to turn out well.

Now it’s Mothers’ Day. I didn’t have a good Mothers’ Day last year, and it wasn’t because my loved ones didn’t try. They tried really, really hard, and honestly, I think that made it worse. Adam gave me pink roses. He rarely gave me flowers because it was his opinion that they were ephemeral and therefore a waste of money. But last year he gave me my favorite, and a bunch of them.

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And then there was the ring. Also my favorite, an opal, from my favorite jewelry store. He gave me an opal from that store once before, on our 15th anniversary. This opal was for a minor holiday, one that he generally characterized as a “Hallmark holiday.” And he gave me a very expensive ring. To remember him by. I couldn’t even like it. I resented it, almost. But he knew that a year out I would look at it and love it and thank God for him. And I do.

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Ok so you’ve made me cry now, but I thought today was worth remembering with a post. It’s a crushing anniversary, honestly. Because of those two things.

I’m starting to feel some anger, which I understand is a good thing. I’m angry that my son, particularly, has been deprived of his father at an age when he really needs a dad. I’m angry that I have to shepherd my kids through the college application process alone. None of us knows what we’re doing and it would be nice to have Adam to help us. He was always so good at keeping on top of things like this, and I am not. I’m angry that I’m a third wheel everywhere I go. My hairstylist said third wheels are good–they make tricycles. I appreciated that. I’m angry that I’m always exhausted.

I’m going to try to acknowledge and deal with this anger, and welcome it as part of moving through grief. Wish me luck, and if you have any tips for me I’d welcome them.