Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I have not really been looking forward to the holidays this year. I know they are going to be difficult. But, for once, I think the universe may be conspiring to help me in a most backhanded fashion. The universe has decided to keep me too busy and tired to think this holiday season. Which should make it simply fly by.

This week, my son developed a second round of ear infection. I've spent most of the last two days holding and consoling him. On Tuesday, while I was counting the minutes until our doctor's appointment, my husband received a call letting him know that he's got the new job he was shooting for. He has to report to the new station, on the other side of the country, by the end of January. Yes, this upcoming January. While this is good news, it also means we'll have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, packers, and a drive across our great nation in the middle of winter. All in the next 8 weeks.

That therapist I was referred to has been playin phone tag with me for a week or so now. She caught me yesterday and I explained my situation. I told her I wondered if it was worth starting with her if I'm leaving momentarily. She agreed it was frustrating to start with someone and then start all over again a few weeks later. We agreed that I can call her back if I need an ear before I go. I don't even have time for therapy. Seriously.

Two things that have made me sad this week:
-I was walking up to some local shops to do some Christmas shopping and realized again that I don't need a gift for Dad this year. He used to be so hard to buy for. I had finally figured out some sure-fire winners last year. And now he's gone. My Christmas gift list has shrunk.
-Today my son was talking about doing something back at my Mom's house. As though we were headed there for an event (he likes to make up stories now). He said to me, "You and me and Grandma and Papa... (pause) Papa's at Heaven. Grandma and Joseph and Miss Kathy and Mr. Richie will all go."

We are spending Thanksgiving with wonderful friends tomorrow. I made potatoes and pie and muffins to bring along. Dad loved apple pie. But he liked it cold. With ice cream. So I'll think of him when I eat mine tomorrow.

I have so many things for which to be thankful. My sadness hasn't erased those things. It has made them more precious. I am thankful for that this year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Unexpected

I went to get my blood labs done yesterday as part of my physical. My doctor sent me over to the local hospital; 8 blocks away, easy stuff. The husband was home in the AM as he was working late so he took command of the Boy. I ran over quickly before we had to head to the gym. I have never been in this particular hospital before so, I parked my car and wandered into the first building I came to. But that one was the medical building, not the hospital proper. I walked across the courtyard into the actual hospital and nearly stopped short.

I think it was the smell that did it. I was instantly shoved right back to visiting Dad in the hospital and I freaked out a little. I immediately teared up and had to control my breathing. I walked up the hall into the lab and managed to keep myself in check while having my blood drawn. The woman who poked me was lovely and I think took my agitation as a part of my need not to look at the needle in my arm. She chatted with me to keep me distracted and we were done in minutes. By the time I got back down the hall and out the door, I was practically crying. I had to sit in the car to regain my composure.

We were in the military hospital last Tuesday because the little guy had a double ear infection. I had no problem there, so this really caught me by surprise. Like I said, I think it was the smell. And the door I walked in was right by the chapel and serenity garden. The chapel at Dad's hospital was right in the main hallway, you had to walk past it every time you came to visit. I never expected to feel returned to that place so physically. I wonder when the unsexpected things will stop hurting so much.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scattered Showers

I find myself crying or tearing up at random moments. Sometimes while I'm running at the YMCA, a song on my Ipod or a random thought will set me off. Laying in bed at night I'll find the tears raining down. The other night, reading to my son got me started. I was partway through a story and it made me think of Thanksgiving. We'll be spending it with friends and I started to think about what I have to be thankful for this year. And I started to cry. It isn't that I don't have anything to be thankful for; I am blessed. It's just that all of those things still feel overwhelmed by the loss of my Dad. I wonder when I will feel less sad. But I'm not really sure what will take the place of all my sadness. Last week was a tough one for me. I was feeling lonely and a bit lost. But this weekend was full of friends and I felt a little more like I belonged where I was. We'll move in the next few months and I wonder if I'm prepared to be uprooted again.

I was recently chatting online with my friend who lost her partner last month. We were talking about how we were doing and what we had been through. I was explaining about watching my folks loose one another as it happened and she said I must be very strong. And I responded that being strong is over-rated. I often feel like I am the rock around which all the unrest swirls. I'm sure some of this is self-imposed, but I also feel as though it is expected of me by others. This same friend told me that she often felt it was easier to discuss her loss with people who didn't know her partner. And I told her that the problem with people who are connected to the person you lost is that you must bear their pain as well as your own. At least, that is how I have felt. When I was home, I didn't feel like I could really let go and fully succumb to my sadness because others needed me to be strong. I was afraid that if I fell apart that they would either a) panic, or b) fall apart as well and I'd end up comforting them. So it just seemed easier to comfort others and assume I could fit my mourning into the evenings and slow times. Which is mostly what I did. Once I returned to my own home, I found that it wasn't any easier to talk about it.

I have spoken with some lovely friends here about those months and some of what I went through. But I try not to get too worked up. Partly because I'm not often in an appropriate setting for that kind of thing: a party where someone asks, "How are you doing?" is not a time for a weep fest. Some of these friends are wonderful but not the kind of close friends I feel comfortable dumping upon. And most everyone here has their own problems to worry about. No one really wants to hear any more about my poor Dad. Not that I think people don't care, but it is off their radar since they are not connected to the situation. And, honestly, I'm not always so sad. It comes and goes. And many times when I most want someone to talk to, no one is available. Plus, I don't want to turn into that woman who is such a downer- always talking about her problems and her depression and how hard her life is these days. Does anyone really like that woman? She's exhausting. She exhausts me.

So, today, when I saw my doctor for my physical, I asked about talking to a mental health professional. She asked me a few questions about how I'm feeling and agreed to refer me to someone. I assured her I don't feel tempted to drive into bridge abutments, I just think I might benefit from talking to someone impartial. It's been a tough year. I could use some help doing the heavy lifting to sort it all out. I don't really want to pack up all of this baggage in our next move.