Becoming a Man

How do I help my son become a man?

How do I help him move through the grief, feel the feelings, acknowledge them and move forward?

We sat in our van today, talking about Dad and how he feels.

His sadness about his Dad’s death.

His lack of tears.

His anger at me for checking out that first year.

His anger at the hospital – thinking they didn’t do enough to make him better.

He is confused – and sad – and hurting  – and angry.

And he’s very much like me – he stuffs it in a tiny little box until it comes out in some form of explosion.

We’re going to see a grief counsellor next week – hopefully she’ll be able to help him.

If that doesn’t work – we have a name and number for a younger gentleman who works with teenagers.   I’ll see how that works for him.

I want very much for him to not grow up angry and bitter – he’s got a shell around him – I think it’s still fragile enough that I can help him learn to keep it protecting only those parts that need to be protected – instead of walling himself off entirely.

He’s almost 14 – becoming a man, slowly.  Trying to see where the world takes him and where he fits in – and the man who was supposed to show him that is gone…

Pictures 087



I’m drowning.

I saw this post on FB:



And it’s so true.

There’s this wordless scream going through my head… “HELP ME… MAKE IT STOP”

But no one can hear.

Even when someone says “are you all right? Do you need something”  The “I’m fine” comes out of my mouth faster than I can think to answer honestly.

Although it IS sort of honest.

F(ucked up)

Totally fine.

I’ve been fine since the day he got sick.  I got even more fine when he died.   And then fine hit it’s *finest* moments when I changed my life entirely.


I’m fine.

Except I’m drowning.   And no one knows it.

And somehow I have to communicate that to my doctor, my counsellor and the psychiatrist that I’m going to see next week.

Somehow I need to communicate effectively how much I AM drowning and how much I desperately want to breathe again.  How much I want to feel GOOD again.

Without being flippant.  Without brushing it off.

Without just saying “I’m fine”

Because I’m not fine.  I’m not ok.

I want to be though.  I really, really want to be.

Grief Is Like the Ocean

Filters and Work

My filter is gone.  I don’t know where it went to – I had gotten pretty good at managing it.

Oh don’t get me wrong – my filter broke after Mark died, but I have been very carefully putting it back together since going back to work.

Apparently it’s malfunctioning again.

I have been snappish at home.  I have been overly emotional, somewhat cranky and generally, not myself.

Stress?  Grief?

I’m not sure.   What I am sure of is that my filter is gone and unless I keep my mouth shut (thankfully that never broke!!) I am prone to saying  things that are not necessarily appropriate.

This is causing stress at home.   This could cause stress at work.

Today’s situation is that a co-worker is having massive computer issues.  She has IT working on it.

IT called.  Twice.  The second time, they just needed some information.

The  co-worker is in a webinar, with her door closed.   I tap gently on her door, not wanting to *disturb* but wanting to get the answer to the question IT had.

Two OTHER co-workers jump in “SHE’s in a WEBINAR”  Yes, I know, I replied.  IT is on the line and they need information. “THEY’VE already called and were told she’ll CALL BACK”


YOU deal with it.  One of YOU TWO can handle the situation.

And I walked back to my desk.

The first co-worker popped her head out – I told her what IT needed and she dealt with it.

But the reality is – my filter was gone at that moment and if she HADN’T popped her head out, I don’t know what else would have come out of my mouth.

I really need to get a handle on my filter…. *sigh*


The Things People Say

Or… how to seriously hurt a widow…

I was having a conversation with someone last night about where I live.  I’ve lived in the house where I am for the past 8 years… my husband’s presence is embedded in every nook and cranny, every fibre of the house.  No matter what I paint or what furiture I bring in, or how I move things around… I still expect to see him in the kitchen, in our bedroom or in the living room.

I still expect to see him there.

It hurts.

I try to keep busy – I blog, I facebook, I visit other websites, I talk to people, I invite friends over, I furiously clean, I play video games. 

I do whatever it takes to keep my mind so busy that by the time I go to bed… I’m so exhuasted I pass out.

Sometimes I drink to forget.

Sometimes, though, I can’t.  My mind won’t stay occupied and I become *aware* of the lack.  Aware of what’s missing.  Aware of who’s missing.

And it hurts.  It’s like a knife, sliding into my heart, hot, sharp and painful… it takes my breath away, it leaves me doubled over in pain.  If I’m lucky, I’m able to cry and release some of the pain.

I can’t shunt those moments of awareness away.   They hurt too much.

They are always lurking.

So this person says to me something like: well, it will get better… it won’t hurt so much eventually.

I’m like: it’s not the same.  Your husband was not living with you when he died.  You didn’t expect him to come home.  He was never getting well enough to come home.  He had lived his life.

And her response?   “Well neither was yours, either.”

Even now, thinking about that, the pain hits, sharp, hot, and unreasonably painful.

No, my husband wasn’t living with me when he died.  But 2 days before he died – I was still being told that he would get better and come home.   The day he died, the surgeon tried to convince us that there was still something that could be done.   Until he actually took his last breath – I still held hope that he *would* get better and come home to  me.

I sat there, kissing his forehead, hoping  beyond hope that his breathing would get stronger, his heart beat would get stronger, that his blood pressure would go up and he’d get better and COME HOME to us.

Her husband, on the other hand… was 95 and not expected to come out of the nursing home he was in.   There wasn’t hope.  There wasn’t a possibility that a miracle would happen and he would come home and resume his life and his role in her life.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not, in any way minimizing her loss.  Her husband died.  For that, I have compassion.  For that, I have empathy.  I understand how much it hurts that her husband died.

But she expected him to.  When she moved him into the home, she knew he’d never be coming out.

I expected my husband to celebrate 50 years of marriage with me.    Wandering around my house late at night, I see everything that was lost.  I am mired in the sadness of what isn’t here anymore.  

Trying to compare grief, expecting someone to be over it, or at a certain level of “over it” is hurtful and unreasonable.

Everyone’s grief journey is different.  Everyone grieves differently, everyone heals differently, everyone comes to a place of acceptance differently.

We all need to realize that… and be kind and compassionate to one another… after all – you never know what journey another person is on.


Mark's Urn

Grief Support Group

I haven’t been to one.  I’m supposed to attend one tonight.

I want to go… sorta.  But at the same time I don’t.   I don’t want to go somewhere I don’t know anyone and talk about my husband’s death.

I don’t want to be the youngest person there.  I don’t want to be the only one still raising kids and have to explain what it’s like.

I don’t grieve publicly.

Ok… y’all can stop laughing, snickering and giggling now.  I grieve through this BLOG, but I don’t grieve in person, publicly.   I cry in private.  I get sad in private.

I will write a heartfelt, raw, emotional blog, bawl my face off in my bedroom and then go out and smile at my kids and friends.

You, dear reader, do not see me.   You read, you get insight into my mind, but you don’t see me.  You can’t touch me.  You can’t look at me with pity.  I won’t hear from you “I’m so sorry”

The “I’m so sorry’s” in person are way worse than the online ones.  The empathy and sympathy I get online helps me to realize I’m not alone, but allows me to be private and insulated.

I don’t do well in groups – but I love talking one on one.  I love to connect with one person, maybe two, in person and have a coffee and chatter.  With two other people, I have a tendency to stay quiet and let them talk.  Any more than 2 people and I become a wall flower… I stop talking.  I clam up unless someone directly asks me a question.

So group therapy?   My anxiety is going through. the. roof.

So much so that I’m contemplating taking a pill.  So much so that I want to hide in my bedroom.  So much so that I can’t think of much but how to AVOID going there tonight.

Another widow suggested I go – that I can always quit if I don’t like it.   But I won’t be able to LEAVE if I’m uncomfortable.  That’s the flipside of my anxieties.  If I go somewhere or agree to do something then SHOW UP… I have to follow through – I can’t leave.

Stupid freaking anxieties.

Stupid freaking husband dying on me so that I’m forced to confront shit like this.


I’m probably not going to go… the idea of going makes me want to throw up.  It might do me some good – but not if I’m vomiting all over the place.   I am doing rather well with one on one counselling I’m getting with my psychologist…

I hope it does some good for the people who go there… I have connected with other people…and I think I’ll be ok without it.


New Meds

Apparently blowing off your psychologist is a bad thing.

Apparently when you tell your doctor that, he says that the meds are not working like they should, and that I’m still avoiding the feelings and disassociating, and adds something to your regimine.

Apparently they help put you to sleep.

I have good days.  I have bad days.  I’m never sure if the bad days, the lows, are depression related or grief related.   I’m still relatively functional during my lows – it’s when I’m dealing with the anxiety that I have difficulty functioning.

My doctor says it doesn’t matter.  That I need to stay out of the lows so that I can get into the feelings, work through them.   Somehow that doesn’t make sense to me.

I’m supposed to feel the emotions.  I’m supposed to stop avoiding them.   But when I feel them, when I allow myself to grieve, feel sad, I get low.

But the new meds are supposed to keep the lows… not quite so low?   But what if the feelings ARE that low?

This would all be so much simpler if he had just LIVED.

I’m trying.  I miss him.  I miss our life together.  I don’t like the feeling of emptiness, the feeling of something missing that permeates every single part of my life.

I’ll take the meds.  I’ll stay compliant.  I’ll actively work on whatever it is I’m supposed to work on to move through, adapt, adjust.

I’ll still miss him.   Always.

10 weeks…

Tomorrow it will have been 10 weeks since he died.

Trying to explain how I’m feeling… I just tell everyone that I’m “ok” and hope they don’t dig too far.

A new friend of mine posted this on her facebook page.  She lost her husband one week after I lost mine… there are so many similarities in our lives…

It is now September 3rd. It has been two months since Mike passed away. Two months. 

I know that each day I get through is making me “stronger” or “tougher;” however, it is only on the surface. I give really good face. 🙂 If I sit and think for a bit too long about the truth of the matter that Mike is never walking back in that door again, I get panicky, sick to my stomach and the tears start flowing. If I am alone, I end up in sobs. If I am around someone, I choke it down so as to continue giving a look of strength to those around me. 

Please do not think I am spiraling out of control. I lost half of my heart two months ago. I lost someone who was way too young by most people’s standards to die. In an instant, all of my dreams and plans for my future got changed. I lost the life I knew and the life I was looking forward to. In an instant, I watched my beautiful daughter lose her first love. In an instant, her life was forever changed to have to continue growing up without her daddy there to even see her become a teenager let alone all the other milestones in her young life. The man who cherished the ground she and I walked on as well as the air we breathed was gone — in an instant. So am I out of control? No. No, I’m not. I am grieving, and for the first time in my entire life, I am allowing myself to walk right through the middle of the fire and facing the pain rather than trying to get around it, get over it or get under it. I know it will continue to be there no matter how much I try to hide or avoid it. That is why I am just living it. However, know that if you do come around, I’m okay. Don’t avoid talking about Mike or asking how I’m doing for fear that it will upset me. All I need is a good ear and a box of Kleenex if you come around — oh, and margaritas seem to work really good too! ♥ ♥ Love you all ♥ ♥

The parts that resonate most with me, I’ve bolded.  Especially the first paragraph. I give really good face.  I am learning oh so well how to stuff it, and cry in private.   The panicky, twisty, sick to my stomach feeling… that overwhelms me.
And that is wrong on so many levels.
10 friggen weeks.  And now that the numbness is wearing off – it hurts more today than it did when he first died.  If I keep saying it over and over… will I eventually believe that he’s gone?  That he died and left me behind?  That I am really truly a widow?
My counsellor says I will.  I just know that as soon as I think about it… the panicky twisty, sick to my stomach feeling overwhelms me to degrees I can’t handle.