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

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It’s A Warrior Thing

I really shouldn’t read other people’s blogs before I’ve had coffee or gone pee.

There’s this woman, Michelle Pammenter Young, who’s story I’ve been following.

Short version:  she got Inflammatory Breast Cancer (survival rate of  34% at 5 years) and kicked it in the balls.  She has been living life large and planning a future with her kids and husband.

She wrote a book about it.

She started a blog.

She went back to work.

She was changing her world and inspiring others (me included) with her drive, perseverance and positive attitude.

And then this morning, I’m perusing Facebook and see a post from her… a blog.

I had been watching for her posts -she had mentioned a blinding headache in one of them.

This isn’t the kind of post you want to read before you’ve had your first coffee or before your eyes are even properly awake.

It’s the kind of post that kicks you in the stomach, leaves you breathless and makes you wonder at the injustice of the universe.

I’ll let you read her blog. 

Have some tissues ready.    I’m kinda in shock right now.

If you could send her some love, positive support, good vibes, prayers, whatever it is that you believe in to her…

I was cheering for her when she was fighting breast cancer.  And I’m still cheering her on that she’ll kick this one too.    I don’t want to see her husband join our ranks… this is a club no one wants to join and we’d prefer not to welcome new members to.

The Year I Died

One Year Ago…

I was so so deep in grief… I don’t know how I managed to survive that first 6 months.

I was angry.

I was at peace.

I was all over the place.

Now… I’m just here… low level depression and sadness punctuated with deep grief and intense joy.

Not nearly as all over the place as I was, and much more relaxed about life.

I still miss you Mark.  Almost 18 months since you’ve been gone.

Mark's Urn

The Box

There’s a tiny little box in my heart.

In that box I keep my tears, my sadness, my sorrow, my grief.

I can usually keep the box tightly closed.  I can usually keep the grief at bay, without thinking too much about how much it hurts.   After all, there’s so much amazing joy in my life.  There’s love and life and laughter.

But the grief shows up unexpectedly, at inopportune times, and I’m forced to shove it back in the box.

Other times, the box breaks open, much like a suitcase filled to overcapacity and exploding in a flurry of emotions.

overfilled suitcase

 

I’m not very articulate tonight.   Tonight, I just can’t keep the box closed.  Everything is exploding out and regardless of how much I try to focus on the positive, the happy things, the good memories…  The sadness is just overwhelming.  It’s settled over me like a blanket.

I wish it was easier.  I wish the grieving process was linear and that at X date out, we’re at a certain level of grieving.   That at some point the sadness wouldn’t overwhelm or shred my heart.

It’s not.

Tonight, I am just.

hummingbird

 

 

I am Just

If you’re a child of the 80’s and a fan of science fiction – you’ll remember the TV mini-series “V” that was on in the early 80’s.

One of the scenes I remember vividly is when Robert Englund (Willie) meets Diane Carey (Harmony) when Robert is lost.   He is a stranger in a foreign land, not *quite* understanding the language and having difficulties finding his way around.

Harmony Moore: Don’t let it spaz you. Let me help you.
Willie: Help, yes!
[pulling out the map]
Willie: Help to go
[pointing to a spot on the map]
Willie: to this place.
Harmony Moore: You don’t know where to go?
Willie: I’m just.
Harmony Moore: You mean “lost.”
Willie: [he gets it] Lost! Yes…

After Mark died… I felt the same way…. a stranger in a foreign land not *quite* understanding the language.   Suddenly everything I knew didn’t make sense any more.  I was just.

People would talk to me and I would look at them with confusion.   They were speaking the language I’d been speaking all my life but suddenly it didn’t make sense anymore.

My life didn’t make sense.  Who I was didn’t make sense.

I was just.

I am coming to the point now where I’m no longer just.  Where the words are starting to make sense again and I am starting to understand better.   And then every once in a while…. the world stops making sense again and I am just.   Especially when it’s one of my kids who is hurting… and I can’t help them…. because they are just and I don’t know how to make the world make sense for them.

Lost sign

 

 

THAT’s what they meant!!!

Year 2.

It’s been 54 1/2 weeks.

As I approached the 1 year mark, as I moved through the day on June 26, I focussed on the blessings and on the good things that knowing, loving and living life with Mark brought.

I was in a good place.

And now, 2 1/2 weeks later… it’s like someone took the scab and ripped it off.  I’m bleeding all over the place again.

I hurt.  I can’t breathe.  I can’t think.  I am having trouble functioning again.  I cry more often than I have in a long time.  I can’t focus for long periods of time.

And because of the move – I’m going through all our *stuff* and it’s like someone is taking a hot poker and jabbing the wound over and over and over.

More bleeding.  More pain.  More raw grief.

I didn’t know what it meant to have gone through all the firsts.  I didn’t know what would happen when I passed that one year mark. I didn’t know how I would feel.

I sure as hell didn’t think I’d feel like this.

Over the weekend at Camp Widow someone said that becoming a widow is like hitting a wall.  No matter what, that wall is ALWAYS THERE.   I have to figure out how to climb over the wall, go around the wall, move through the wall… but the wall is always there.

Right now it feels like I climbed the wall, most of the way, then fell down it, sliding along the cement and scraping up all exposed skin. 

I’ve heard it said that the 2nd year is when the fog lifts, and that’s why it hurts so much.

I’m moving forward in my life… but its almost like I’m walking parallel paths… one where I’m in love with a new guy, I’m moving my kids and starting a new life with him and the other where I grieve hard and painfully over my dead husband.  Those two people live inside me simultaneously.  Some days, the grieving widow is stronger and in control.  Others, the strong independent woman who is starting a new life is in control.

It’s exhausting.  And I don’t see an end to it.  All I see is the wall of “HE FUCKING DIED” in front of me.    And as I stand there, I’m blessed to be supported, hands held, hugged, loved, and encouraged by my friends and by the man who loves me.  

And faintly… oh so faintly, in the crowd of people standing there with me while I stare at this wall, trying to figure out how to live life without him, is Mark. 

I’m still bleeding.

Tucked In MY Heart

Lachrymose

There’s a word for how I feel.

I didn’t know.

lach·ry·mose

[lak-ruh-mohs] adjective

1.suggestive of or tending to cause tears; mournful.
2.given to shedding tears readily; tearful.

I don’t do a *lot* of crying, or a *lot* of weeping, but I do feel tearful and mournful a lot of the time.

Its usually just sitting below the surface, waiting for something to break the bubble and the tears will flow.

I had a hard time explaining it to people – how I was feeling.  Now… there’s a word.

tears1