Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pity Party for 1

This morning I have been reading Women Living Well, by Courtney Joseph. She talks about how to balance life as a Christian woman. I have been reading about how she had a hard time figuring out how to balance being a good wife in the beginning of her marriage while supporting her husband finishing school. She goes on to say she figured it out, mostly by letting go of being perfect. While that is wonderful for her, I sit here listening to my son slurp his cereal with his headphones on, in my crappy rental condo with the horrible smell I cannot get out of the carpet, and piles of STUFF all over the place because I am too busy with my part-time job that takes full-time work, to clean it up. I.AM.TIRED. I am exhausted from trying to survive everyday. I can comprehend why R became so overwhelmed that he needed a desperate escape, but will never understand how he could follow through with it.

Yesterday was Halloween and today I just need a break from my son. Some time to myself. But I cannot get it. I have no one here to take over for me. So when I read about how perfect someone else's home life is, I am so envious it brings me to tears. It's all I want to be able to stop surviving day to day, and focus on being a good wife and mother. I want a family again. That sounds like a dream come true. But that's not my reality and I am pissed off about it. I didn't ask for this. I didn't expect to be a single parent.

"Don't you have family around that could help you out?" People ask.
 No. No, I don't. Because I am an idiot. I moved here knowing no one, which I thought was quite adventurous of me. It was definitely what you would call an adventure, with all the ups and downs. But, I was also desperate to get away from all the memories and triggers of the place where the 3 of us were a family. Everywhere I went was a memory of some kind. I lived with all of that for a year after his death.

Sometimes it is so difficult to be grateful. Today is one of those days. I'm going to start really simple just to start somewhere.

I am thankful for a place to live.
I am thankful for the food we have in our kitchen.
I am thankful for a beautiful child.
I am thankful for supportive parents.
I am thankful for re-discovering a wonderful man.
I am thankful for hope.
I am thankful for my church family and all of their support.
I am thankful that my body is intact and I am a healthy person.

I'm already starting to change my attitude. Buck up, S! Life is not over.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tug of War

"Why is Nursing still on your mind?" my counselor asks me. I wanted it for myself. It was something I chose to do, a commitment I made to myself and our family to help make things better. I was fascinated with the human body and the medical world. I was two semesters away from graduating with a BSN. Then everything stopped. R decided to leave us.  Then this struggle begins between my reasoning and what could have been his: How could you have done that to our little boy? Why did you do that when everything was about to get better? Why didn't you just talk to me? I can't go on like this. She doesn't love me anymore. I can't lose my son. Everyone will be better off.

Three years later I have moved to a different state, and tried to start over again. It hasn't gone so well. You can't spring back from something like the suicide of a spouse, and ever be the same again. You cannot throw your life back together and expect it to work. There are so many stages of healing to go through, in addition to grieving that I could never have known about until now. I used to think healing meant that it wouldn't hurt as much or bring back as many painful flashbacks and memories when a trigger went off. But that is only part of it. It's a good part of it, a good indication of healing, but that is really only a part of what is going on inside. If you let God heal you, he will. If you let people help you, they will. Can you swallow your pride enough to let him do his work? Can you give the chaos up to him and trust that he will lead you the right way? I got to a point where I felt I was at my absolute low. I could not go anywhere but up and was forced to ask others for help. When help started pouring in I knew God had placed me exactly here, and certain people in my life exactly now.

I taught for a long time before I made the switch to nursing school. I swore that I would never teach in a classroom again because I had a horrible experience as a new, young teacher. So. Here I am teaching again, with joy in my heart. Do you hear that? It's God laughing. It has been a completely different experience this time, probably for various reasons. Mostly, I know my priorities and my perspective on life have totally changed since R's death. Life is too short to be pissed off all the time. Life is too short to be stressed out about nursing school all the time, too. I really cannot force myself to give a crap about a test when I have to figure out how to emotionally support my young son who lost his Daddy. I would have been a good nurse, I already knew that. I already had a job waiting for me on the way out of school. I did not give up. S does not give up. S fights tooth and nail until something drags her down (like an actual rock). I FAILED. Yes. I FAILED. Let me say it again, I FAILED. I was mad as hell, angry at myself, angry at R. But, here is what I learned: How would I teach my son to fail and get back up again if I have never had that experience myself? 

I love the picture that shows the road to success being a squiggly mess and not a straight line. I don't actually consider myself a successful person yet. My time has yet to come. There are goals I have had my entire life, that have not been conquered. Writing is one of those things.

My son and I spent two nights in the hospital recently after he had a vicious broken arm. While I was there, I was very appreciative of my nursing education. I knew what was happening. I knew during the times of waiting exactly what was going on behind the scenes. I knew how to make their jobs easier for them. When I talked to the nurses, and then thought about nursing school and what going back would mean, it felt daunting. It felt like a race I was never going to win, because maybe I wasn't meant to anymore. Did the trauma of my husband's death literally change my brain? It may have. Maybe I cannot handle all the itty bitty little facts I need to keep straight for every single medication my patients would take, but maybe I can handle using my creative side by teaching others and writing. Maybe I am different now. Maybe I have grown. Maybe part of my heart has healed and this is what's left of me.

Friday, July 31, 2015

What You CAN Take With You When You Die

Here I am again, with the boxes.

As I was purge-writing in my Morning Pages today, I decided that today I was going to dive in and start unpacking. I've moved so many times in only three years, it's become easy to put away the things that are not necessary for everyday living in a box and shove it in a corner. And then it's not only in the corner of my living place, but also in the corner of my mind. Think about this: why is it so relaxing to go away for a weekend to someone else's home or to a hotel? I'm convinced, it's because we aren't surrounded by our own crap! You don't have to see it, deal with it, make any decisions about it. You can have a great time because your mind is free! And then when you come home, there's all your crap again. Waiting for you. Is this why Jesus asked his disciples to give up all their possessions? I can only imagine that the purpose was to allow for focus and to build faith. We don't have to be attached to our things to live life. I don't think we have to give up our possessions, either. But I do believe if they distract you from what is important, then it should go.

It's time to clear the crap out. I've been putting off these decisions for a long time, because it is a hard thing to do when you don't feel like you can trust yourself. My grief created a mess in my mind- and voila! It also appeared in my living space. That is not a coincidence.

Right now I am ultra-motivated to de-clutter and live simply. My focus is coming back. It's taken a lot of time and work. I've been in this season of Winter, a period of waiting and stillness, forced to reflect and reevaluate. Since R died and my perspective on life completely changed, some of the thoughts I've wrestled with are: What do I want to do with my life? What is my purpose? What m I supposed to do?! Never mind that. What does God want me to do with my life? What is God's purpose for me?  

There have been so many different influences God put into my life to help me think it through. For instance, I attended a new member class at my church, learning and discussing the basis of the Lutheran faith. I was baptized Lutheran as an infant. My Dad is a Lutheran minister. Did I really need that class? YES. In every class or study I've attended, there is something new to learn. I could take that class ten more times and learn something new each time. I came to some realizations during that class. I have been in this confusing place, looking for a job, and also trying to figure out if I should go back to Nursing school. It was absorbing my brain. I started to question if I was really trusting God or if my god had become this worry/obsession over what I would do next with my life...

Oops. Yep. When God tells you to let go, he really means let go (Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6). I like to sing "Let it Go," (Yes, from Frozen) to remind myself in a humorous way, because really, I cannot get through every day without humor.

I processed through how to tell my son that things are just things, and we can't take them with us when we die. I know he might feel like I don't care about his toys and his feelings about his toys. So my plan is to remind him that Daddy didn't take any of his toys with him when he went to Heaven. And why is that? Because what Jesus wants us to care about is loving each other, not our things. We can take love and a happy soul with us to Heaven, but we cannot take our things.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Ton of Bricks

Grief can come on so unexpectedly and hit like a ton of bricks, right in the heart.

This morning my son and I finally became members of the church we have been attending for 2 years. I was very happy during the service feeling very welcomed. It was a gorgeous day outside and we drove home with the windows down, music turned up.

I started to make our lunch and heartache grew and grew in my chest. I kept preparing lunch, but felt like I was on the verge of tears. What is wrong with me? My son grabbed his plate and went into the living room to eat in front of the TV. I didn't bother to protest. I started to eat my sandwich and about half way through the heartache became too much and the tears rolled down my face. Why am I crying? Why am I hurting so bad? What is going on with me? Am I lonely? I'm happy for this thing that has happened, but have no one to celebrate with? Was it a trigger? I grab a box of tissues and go curl up in my bed. Here we go again...

Then I thought- the last time I joined a church, R and I did this together. He actually converted from Catholicism to Lutheranism which was one of the most loving things anyone has ever done for me. And now he's gone. That person that loved me that much, is gone. I know he still loves me from Heaven. But all I can think is that I need love - right now. I need to be loved. I need to know that I am special to someone and cherished. I want to have that again. I want to share my life with someone. Just a couple of months ago I had resigned myself to the fact that I may be single for the rest of my life (...all the single ladies put your hands up...). It'll just be me and my son, and I'll try to give him as many wonderful experiences as I can. But I don't think I am made for that. How could God put so much love in me only to have no where to go with it? I NEED to give it away. NEED to. Have to. I can't keep it all to myself.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How I Got Through

No one has ever had the nerve to ask me how I have gotten and still get through this horrible thing that happened. My faith alone was the one rope I had to hold onto. I felt so isolated because no one understood what it was like for me, and many people were afraid to ask. Rather than being angry at God, I relied upon him to enfold me in his love. He was there holding me when no one else was able to. Watch this video- the lyrics say it all. He can get you through anything!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tomorrow Would Be His 41st

I wanted to throw him a big party for his 40th, but he was 38 when he took his life.
I still look back often and can't believe it happened. Just about everyday I ask myself, how did this happen? How did I get here?
He was a gifted guitar player, a strong Judo player, loved animals to the point of rescuing wild birds :-)
Was kind, wanted to give back, cared about family, liked to have fun (which I have learned is a very big deal). He was fiercely loyal and I always loved that quality about him. Robert was FUNNY. In a good way, not in a dirty jokes or sarcastic kind of way, but like an intelligent sort of humor- like you hear on NPR during their games shows, or just a simple play on words that makes you feel like a giggly 12 year old. We laughed together many times at the beavis & butthead kind of jokes, mostly because we were laughing at ourselves. :-) Those are the times I miss the most- laughing together. I can hear his laugh so clearly. It was an honest belly laugh. My son has the same kind of laugh when something is REALLY funny, ever since he was a little baby. I feel like we carry that on in our relationship, even if it is different now, that part of it is still the same. I tell those funny, silly jokes to my son now. And then I tell him how Daddy would have thought that was funny.  :-)
Today we had a small purple butterfly playing with our puppy that stuck around for quite a while, putting itself into harrowing danger- the jaws and paws of a puppy!! I thought that is one tough damn butterfly and I thought, it's R. He's here trying to play with all of us. You might think that sounds crazy, but look around on the Alliance of Hope forums; plenty of people believe their loved ones come to them for a "visit" in the form of an animal.
If you knew R, please take some time tomorrow to say hello and happy birthday to him :-)
My son and I will be honoring him in many different ways.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Go ahead. Watch me.

There are those people out there who like to read my blog and then complain that I act like "a victim." Let's go ahead and define "victim" behavior from a credible source. victim-mentality
If after reading this article you still think I am operating with a victim mentality, then you need to work on your reading comprehension skills and/or understand the purpose of this blog. The purpose is not to bitch and complain. It is to fling wide open the doors of my very personal journey, to let others know that they are not alone. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Waves Keep Coming

My son's birthday was a couple of weeks ago. It's always a hard time for me, watching the festivities go on without R. Suddenly I am tearing up at the smallest things. I know he is watching, but he is not here with us. I feel bad for my son, not having his Daddy there. It was a whirlwind of a week with all the grandparents coming to visit and two parties, plus a party at school... after the PARTY party, on Saturday, I think I just hit my breaking point. Sunday, I was so depressed. I had a good cry that night, you know the kind where the pain in your chest will not go away; actual heartache.  I cried myself to sleep. There have been many nights like that for me- I cry until I fall asleep. And when I get up in the morning tissues tumble onto the ground and I discover them in the pillows, etc... My tears are like parts of me that I leave around. Finding tissues that I unknowingly stuffed into the covers or the pillows is like finding little pieces of me that died. I cried this and that out, and here it is in this tissue. But the next day is always better and I can pick up those little pieces of me and throw them away. Gone. Moving on to a happier place. Having a good cry like that leaves me feeling raw and honest. Nothing anyone could do is more painful than that, so I don't feel scared of anything. You can't hurt me, I've already been though hell, you see.