Friday, April 24, 2009

Today, April 24, I have been alive as many days as Joe was in his entire life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I must admit I've had a few chuckles over the title of my last post. The day after I wrote it I looked as it again and I was like, "WOW". In real life I am not as miserable as my posts as of late seem. It's just one side of me, a side that needs a voice so that can get all this nasty stuff out of my brain.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Turning 5 and other things I hate

These posts are sooooooooooo depressing.

Anyway, here's another pick-me-up.

For the past few months I have had this agonizing little thought in my head about my daughter turning 5. I have never talked about it to anyone but for some reason it is really hitting me hard. Both of my children are "kids" now, nothing babyish about them anymore. Sure, Alyssa still has some things that linger...she is still learning lots of basics, still says some words incorrectly, etc, but really, the baby days, toddler days and soon to be pre-school days are gone. Soon she will be in kindergarten.

After Joe and I had Alyssa we pretty much thought we were done having kids. At some point Joe started to make comments that **maybe** he wanted more. I told him that I was 98% sure that I wanted to be all done having babies, I told him he had 2% to make his case. The way I felt about it was that I really did not want to ever be pregnant again, but, I would love to have a bigger family and so maybe, just maybe I might be coaxed into it.....but really it was a longshot.

That was as far as we got. Then he died.

I honestly don't know what would have happened if he was still here. Would I have another baby? Would I be pregnant again? I know that if Joe really, really, REALLY wanted to have another baby I would have gone through with it. I know that because there is nothing that I would not do for him. I know that another baby would have been a huge sacrifice and a lot of work for us (and by "us" I mean, mostly me), but in the long run it would be completely worth it. Because, children and family are a beautiful thing.

So back to Alyssa turning 5.....It is sad for me in way because I know that one part of my life is over. I suppose every woman goes through something similar, and many women's choices about when to stop having children are taken away from them for all different types of reasons. It just sucks to think about.

And the bigger issue for me is that I feel like I just missed 2 years of Alyssa's life. Yes, I was here with her the whole time, but I was so far away. Unable to find it in myself to be present in a way that I would have been if Joe had not died. I feel like yesterday she was 3 and we had our family and she was my baby. And now she is 5, going to school and the last two years are a fog. I hate it.

My relationship with my children has changed over the past 2 years. I have spent most of that time in what feels like an all-business mentality, constantly working on the necessities of their lives. Making sure they had opportunities to have fun, with other people, but rarely with me. I hate that.

My kids and I have certain rituals, silly little things that we do as only the three of us when we are alone. Things that no one would know about except the three of us. Those things have an element of fear for me now. What if something were to happen to me and those rituals turn to painful thoughts for them? Into more empty voids in their lives? It sounds completely insane and crazy but I've seen it happen. Joe used to go up to say goodnight to Luke after I did every night. As Joe was leaving his room he would say "I love you" to Luke. After Luke said it back to him, Joe would make a silly noise as he was walking down the hall. Luke would laugh. Every night. Every night they would do this. Every night since Joe died when I leave Luke's room after saying goodnight to him I feel that void and my heart aches for my son. I know he remembers. And I know it's the little things that hurt the most. I hate that.

I know you can't stop living for fear of what might happen. But after you suffer a tragedy, the thought seems to be always there. The knowledge of what could happen and how it would feel. I hate it that I know what that's like.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Recently I was given a handout about grief with several bullet points. One said:

If the death was unexpected, some say that the second year is even more difficult.
To be honest I've heard this before in other books I've read. But I always rejected it. A year ago if I heard that statement, in my head I would be thinking "No WAY will I let myself feel WORSE in the second year." I would cringe when I heard people talk about it being years before grief eased up. My honest heartfelt and real reaction to that statement was:

No. It won't be that way.

Honestly in the first year (and I cannot believe I am talking about this situation in terms of years) I think that everything was so focused on getting through stuff. First holidays, first anniversary dates, first days of getting used to a life for me and Luke and Alyssa in which Joe was not here. So many things to figure out.

I think that I had a little break from the pain last summer in which I kind of felt like I was just not allowing myself to feel the pain. Don't get me wrong, I thought about Joe all the time, but at the same time I was truly rejecting grief in a way, focusing on something different for a while. I remember getting daily emails from the first grief group I did (just little sayings or thoughts) and I remember every day I'd get them out of my inbox as fast as I could and think "I am DONE with grief". I was running.

I think during the summer there was also a sense (though never consciously a thought) of "I did it" in terms of getting through the first year. I am not saying that in a boastful way, more of a "phew (wipe your hand across your forehead and exhaustedly fall into a chair), I did it". It's a weird thing for an intelligent person to have.....of course we know there is no end, there is no "did". The high of "I did it" ends quickly when you realize that month after month the pain, emptiness, sadness wear on; that every morning you still get out of bed alone. With grief, I am not sure there is or will ever be an "I did it" with a true feeling of closure and all rounded accomplishment. Does anyone know, is there?

The second year has truly been a struggle. Different from the first. In the first year I struggled with what happened, how it happened, where it happened, going over the day a million times, trying to make some sense of it all, trying to figure out the day-to-day living, doing all the paperwork and legalities, trying to figure out my kids and I apart from Joe. The first year was very much about the present and getting through it and a lot of focus on that horrible event in the past. The second year has also been about the present, but more trying to savor it (hard and sad because I feel dull to everything because I constantly think of what is missing), but also coming to grips with a/the future and trying to make sense of what that will be. Looking at the future, it seems, at least for me, is more difficult than looking at the past. How that can be possible I don't know. But I can tell you that I feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, confused and depressed when thinking about the state of my life right now. I feel like it's just not going anywhere....same stuff, different day, and no plan for what I am doing it all for. Yes, I know what the obvious answer is, I am raising my children. And yes, it's an important role and I am honored to be here for those two great kids, but......what about Robin? When does her life begin again? And understand that question is asked with great pain because I don't want to begin again. I had all this stuff wrapped up years ago. Done. Moving on.

"Not so fast" says the universe. And POOF, everything changes. Life as I knew it, gone in an instant.

I don't want to feel this way. Why can't I look at the future with hope and positivity? As a wide open canvas in which I can do anything and everything that I want? Why can't I feel joy the way I used to? I have so many gifts in my life, it is so full in so many ways. Why can I not feel the beauty in it all?