Drowing…

I’m drowning.

I saw this post on FB:

Drowning

 

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)
I(nsecure)
N(eurotic)
E(motional)

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.

Yep.

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

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I’m Afraid

Not always.  Not in general.  Just about certain things.

My new man works a swing shift – 4 on, 4 off, days then nights.   He’s flipping into nights and this means that he stays up as late as possible the night before his first night shift so he’s not exhausted that first shift.

Usually he comes to bed around 2 or 3am.

Sleeps most of the day.

Goes to work.  And back into the night shift.

Last night, he kept himself up all night.

As in, I woke up alone.

I panicked.   Where was he?  Was he ok?  Did he fall asleep on the couch?  Was he still awake?  Did something happen to him??

That’s the real root of the fear – that I’d go to the living room and discovered he’d died while I was sleeping.

I didn’t want to face the fear of losing him.  Of being a widow (not that we’re married) AGAIN.  Of having to tell boys AGAIN that their dad had died.

I couldn’t face it.  So I went back to sleep for 15 mins more.

I woke up, and he still wasn’t there.

I panicked again.

And lay there, knowing I’d have to get up.  Knowing I’d have to face whatever was out in my living room.  Knowing that I couldn’t avoid it any longer because I either needed to get ready for work or tell work that I wasn’t coming in.

Yeah – my brain went there – the what would I have to do if he was dead out there.

As a side note – its amazing to me how fast my brain processes these thoughts.  The what will I do, how will I cope, who has to be informed.

All within a minute or two.

I got up – he’s sitting in his chair playing video games.

Relief flooded through me, and I immediately started berating myself about going down that thought process.

It wasn’t like I chose it though – it was just THERE when I woke up alone.

I kissed his forehead, got ready for work and sent him to bed.

I hate being afraid.  I hate fearing something that i have no control over.

I was, however, incredibly grateful to find he’d just stayed up all night.

Death changes you in ways you don’t expect.   Things I never thought of before, are now intruding into my thoughts and causing me to panick.

All because he died.

Life Is Short

Panicky Feelings

When does the panick stop?

After my husband had his heart attacks, I panicked for about a year.  The phone needed to be on my person and accessible at all times, there were numerous check in texts and phone calls and I stressed if I didn’t get a response from him or hear from him when expected.

After about a year, the panick slowly released it’s stranglehold on me.  I stressed less and less and learned to live with uncertainty again.

2 1/2 years after that – when we’re all “ok” my husband went into the hospital.  Again, the panick of not being able to be reached, the stress of having to keep the phone on me at all times, the worry that this illness or that illness will finally kill him.

And then he died.

My son is sick right now with influenza.   When I left for work, I could hear him snoring – I knew he was ok.   On my drive home for lunch however (this is a 5 minute drive, mind you) I started to panick.

What if his fever spiked and he died in the 4 hours since I’d left for work?  What if he was laying there and I never got to say good bye?  How would I handle my baby’s death? (he’s 12)  What if he was DEAD????

Not really productive – and my relief was overwhelming when I walked in my house and he’s watching TV in the basement.

But I want to know… when will the unreasonable, irrational panick stop?

He’s a healthy 12 year old boy.  I know that bad things happen to healthy boys – a friend of mine almost lost her son to an unidentified brain infection.

My husband’s illness and passing was not expected.

Healthy people get sick and die suddenly.

I want to move past that panick.  I want to not wonder if my child is DEAD because he’s got influenza.

Friends who are on the same journey – how long before the panick subsides? How long before my child with a fever won’t have me worried that he may not survive?

How long before I can breathe easily?

Death Leaves A heartache

Unavoidable Triggers

What the fuck?

I’m at work.  I shouldn’t have to hear anything that may trigger me.  Nothing.  We talk about our lives somewhat but the workplace… well, we’re supposed to keep private lives out of it.

So I’m sitting here and two co-workers are gabbing at the desks across from mine.  Clearly in my hearing range.  Neither knows my story.  Neither knows what I went through other than my husband was sick, in ICU for 159 days and died.

One co-worker is talking about her husband’s ICU experience.

I’m listening to her.  I can’t help it.  I can’t NOT hear her.  There’s no where for me to go.

She’s talking about how her husband was hooked up to life support.  How he would squeeze her hand.  And how he’d respond when she talked about boobs.

FUCK ME.

Way back when – the story I told everyone was about how when Mark first came out of his coma – he would only respond to me when I asked him if he wants to see my boobs.

I am sitting here, frozen, trying desperately to get some of this emotion out before I fall apart completely.

Can’t breath.  Tears pricking against my eyes.  Mouth shut tightly against the grief that wants to burst forth.   Nose starting to run because I get snotty when I cry.

And all I want to do is un-hear, un-remember, un-feel what I’m feeling right now.

Lunch isn’t for another hour.  I have to hold it together until then.

I have to pull my focus out of the memories and the fog that has enveloped me and try to concentrate on the job at hand.

I wish I could go back to that time.  I wish I could hug him one more time.  I wish I could kiss him one more time. I wish, just for a minute, that I could hold him and hear his voice and see the look on his face when I kiss him senseless…

I wish he could Beam Me Up.

January 2010 036

 

I dreamed about him the other day.  Woke up in a very unstable mood.  I don’t know what the dream was about but I know he was there.  I wish I could remember it more clearly.

 

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”

FINE.

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*

shhhh

The Problem With Being Strong

I’m that person you WANT in a crisis.   I will navigate painful, emotional, rocky waters like a boss.  I will be the person who’s still standing tall when everyone else around has crumpled.  I will take notes, remember details, and make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

I am that person that holds everyone else up until they can stand on their own.   And then I stay just a little longer to make sure they’re really stable and steady.

And everyone looks at me and says “OMG you’re so STRONG”

And as everyone else is finding their own inner strength, they all walk away, in their good moods, happy that life is stable again.  Or simply capable of dealing with the shit.

And they look at me, laying broken in a pile on my floor, crying and wonder… “WTF?”

They can’t figure out why, when everything is so wonderful now, when things are going better, when everyone else seems to be happy, I’ve fallen apart.

Why I’m grumpy.

Why I’m sad.

Why I’m crying.

The problem with being strong is that eventually I need to have those breakdowns, too.   I need to release the emotion I’ve kept in a tight little box because it’s grown and it’s now overwhelming me.

I can’t do that until it’s safe to do so.  Until someone else is strong enough to hold me up.  Until someone else can take care of the details for me while I lay broken on the floor.

But the problem with being strong is that everyone is confused when I do that.    They don’t get it.    They don’t understand why, after being so strong for so long, after being everyone’s rock, that I’ve fallen apart.   After all, things are good now.  What is there to fall apart over?

But that’s the only time I can do it.   I can only fall apart if there’s someone who can stand with me while I lean on them like everyone else leaned on me during the times of crisis.

Things are going really freaking good right now.  Things are awesome.   A lot of stresses have been resolved, or are in the middle of being resolved and we can see the end, and others can be strong for themselves.

And I’m falling apart because it’s a safe time to do so.

I just don’t know if I can lean, or if I’ll end up picking myself up off the floor later.   I haven’t tested that yet.    I’m still trying to be strong for everyone else.

It's Going to be Ok Someday

Packing and Moving

There’s a special kind of hell for relatively new widows who have to pack up their homes and move.

After the first year, I figured… I got this covered. I’ve got it handled.  I’m good.  I’ll grieve and cry as the reminders come up but overall – I’m moving forward.

And then came the packing and moving.

The problem with packing your stuff is that you’re forced to go through everything.  You’re forced to touch everything.  You’re forced to move everything from the place it has sat for the past 14 months.

Everything has a memory.   Everything has a feeling.  Everything is a trigger.

I have no problem with decluttering and packing the things that mean nothing.  The things that had a number on them, a grocery list, that were given to him but he never used or wanted and didn’t know what to do with.

It’s the fact that all that stuff is interspersed with the stuff that DOES mean something.  I have to pick up everything to see if it IS worth keeping or not.

I have to open the notebooks not knowing if they’re going to be a record of his weight and cardio tracking when we were doing Body for Life or if they’re going to be a random note about how much he loves me (I keep desperately hoping that I’ll find one of those)

I have to touch things that were his deceased mother’s not knowing if I should keep them for my children, or if I should pass them back to his sister.

I have to find a place to put all this stuff.

Does it belong in the big box?  Do I have or should I buy a small box?

Somehow putting things in a cardboard box seems just … but it doesn’t matter what the stuff is in.

In my logical brain – this is clutter.   In my heart – this is Mark.  And the more I get rid of Mark, the more painful it is.

This move is going to be good for me.   It’s going to be good for my kids.   I am so looking forward to building a life with a man I love.  I have been blessed to find love again.

But holy fuck is it hard, and painful, and sad.

I miss Mark.  I need Mike.

And this morning I noticed a text from Mike that made me smile enormously…. This song by Steve Earle.

I am so lucky, so blessed, so fortunate.

And we’ll get through this – both of us will get through the stresses and the griefs and the sorrow we’re going through…   and we’ll get through it together…

Life is what Happens