Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Crazy Truck..

I was pulling out of the gas station near my house this afternoon when I saw Pete's truck driving down the road.  I thought to myself, "Oh look, that truck looks like Pete's." I kept staring at it, as I took inventory of the teal color and the one black panel.  Knowing the crazy color scheme was a true sign that it was in fact, his truck.   I gaped as it drove in front of me, unable to rip my eyes from it.  I sat at the stop sign knowing that it was my turn to go, but I didn't know what to do.  Keep sitting there? Keep driving? Turn around?  I didn't know what I wanted to do. Putting my foot on the gas I turned to the left as I thought about my options.  I could turn around and go and see it. Or I could continue on to the store.  I still couldn't decide. So I turned into my neighborhood, pulled off to the side of the road and sat next to a fire hydrant while I figured it out.  
   I was consumed with so many emotions at one time. Mostly just complete kick to the gut. I knew that when I gave his truck to my cousin that it would be in good hands, I just hadn't prepared myself for it to be driving around me.    A part of me wanted to hunt my cousin down and ask for it back. Thinking that I had made a mistake and that I really could keep it at my house. I thought of all the scenarios. But I knew that the conclusion would be the same. I took a deep breath. What did I want to do?   Did I want to go and see it back at the gas station? I did. But I didn't.  I mostly couldn't get over my reaction to seeing it.   I sat in my car, parked in front of a stranger's house as the sun beat down on me through the windshield.   I felt grateful to my cousin for taking on such a project, and grateful that he said I could come and visit it sometime at his house.  But, I felt sad too.  Sad that I didn't have it anymore, sad that it wasn't a happy sight anymore as it rounded the corner, and sad that Pete wasn't here to drive it around.  
   His truck was always a conversation starter. What with its three toned color scheme of teal, black, and rust and only one racing seat on the drivers side.  He used to let Aryanna play in the bed of it, when he got home from work, but he  always stood close by to catch her in case she didn't accidentally put her foot through a well rusted spot behind the driver's side seat. The clutch would stick and was old, and on more than one occasion he would have to put the truck in neutral, give it a good push, then jump in it as it was rolling in order to get it started. It was a good thing our driveway was on an incline.    My dad used to always joke with Pete about his truck. Saying that no one would know he was such a smart guy since he drove that little POS around.  Pete would just laugh and nod his head.  I think Pete kept it just for spite. That, and he had big plans for it. He even started some of those plans.  He lowered it, which I always thought was especially funny since it was already a mini truck, I apparently didn't know it was cool, as he so often told me.   He wanted to paint it purple, which was perfect since it was our favorite color.  He also wanted to make his own decals for the odometers. He even made some temporary ones out of tracing paper. He bought new racing seats to put in the cab. Apparently the seat was a real pain in the ass to put in, but maybe it had more to do with the fact that he picked an insanely cold Martin Luther King Day to up and decide he wanted his bench seat out and the racing seats in.  He was mostly frozen through, but by the end of the day he had his racing seat in, he planned to wait until spring to put in the other one.  However, one less seat in the cab did come in handy for taking home a couple of  teenage boys from wrestling practice.  He did put an old outdoor folding chair on the passenger side.   It was just about the right height too, so that when the person sat down they could still use the functioning seat belt to stay safe.  
      Pete had always said that when Aryanna was old enough to learn to drive he would  teach her to drive, in his truck. He wanted to teach her how to take care of it, everything from an oil change to how to rebuild the engine if need be.  I remember after his funeral I looked at my brother in law and said,  "I can't go home and see his truck in our driveway. I can't look at it."  He looked at me and said "I'll take care of it."  By the time I got home that evening it was gone.   It sat in an airplane hanger for six years, thanks to a family friend.     I think I thought it would just live there forever, or at least until I decided what to do with it.    It was my brother in law who called to tell me that our friend was selling his airplane hanger, so we needed to figure out what to do with the truck.   Who knew that after six year I was still just as baffled as to  what to do with it, as  I was the day of his funeral.   I didn't know what I wanted to do?  I wanted to keep it. It was Pete's. It was his truck. The truck he drove every day. The one that made us laugh, the one that he tinkered with in the garage, the one that he would teach our kids to drive on.  I had to figure out what to do with it?  How does one decide something like that?
   The same old questions went around and around in my head. What would Pete want me to do with it? Could I really bear to look at it every day? Sitting there in the driveway, expectantly waiting for someone to drive it. That same someone that no longer walked the earth?  I knew in my heart and in my soul that I couldn't bear that. And most of all I couldn't do that to Aryanna and Petey. We have all come so far in our healing that seeing it every day just waiting there would not be something that would be helpful.  The only answer, was to let it go.  It was maddening. Every scenario came back to the same conclusion.  I didn't have the funds that it needed to be fixed enough to get it running, and I still couldn't look at it.   So, what would  Pete have wanted me to do with his truck? He would have wanted someone who could use it. Someone who needed it for transportation. Someone who enjoyed fixing things and making them new.  And what did I want? I wanted someone to love it. Like I did.   I picked up my phone and sent my brother in law a text that I had decided to let it go. And he said That was great and that our cousin wanted it.  I was relieved on one level that if I had to let it go, at least it would be staying in the family.  I asked if I would have a chance to say goodbye to it, and he said I could but that it had to be moved the next day. Well, of course due to everyone at my house being sick I wasn't going to be able to see it.  I asked if I could visit it at, its new home and he said he was sure that would be no problem.   However, I really did want to see it before it left. So, J took me over to the parking lot it was in.   Just as we were about to come around the corner J told me that it would be on my right and to be prepared.      Slowly it came into view. And like a punch to the gut, I literally gasped.  My face felt numb and my hands began to shake.  He parked the car next to it and I hesitantly pushed the car door open.  Unable to keep my hands in my pocket I reached for the cold metal as uncontrollable sobs escaped my lips.  I wanted to lie face down on the hood of it, wrap my arms around it, and hold it close to my body.  It was just a truck, but it was so, so, much more than that.  I walked slowly around it and gripped the door handle of the drivers side as I peered in through the dirty window.  Everything was just as he left it. scattered papers, a blanket, wrestling shoes, and one seat.  I don't know how long I stood there, it felt like an instant and a lifetime combined.  Part of me never wanted to leave or be away from it, while the other part knew I couldn't stay.   Remembering what my brother in law had said, I held onto the fact that when it arrived at its new home I could go and give it a proper send off, one where I could actually get inside of it.  I slowly turned away from it, walked back to my ruby, and got inside. Where my family was waiting for me.   J slowly backed out of the parking space saying nothing as he took my hand in his.   I watched tearfully as we drove away from it.  
   Who knew that one truck could cause so much havoc on one crazy lady's heart.  I thought about my cousin at that gas station, and I thought about going to see him. But, thought I would wait for another time.  As I think of Pete's truck I know it's exactly where it's supposed to be.  Its with someone who loves to fix things up, who needed the transportation and someone who has the gift to bring life back into it.  Kind of like us.  When Pete passed we were broken, completely shattered into a zillion little pieces. But with time, Faith, Courage, and God's love we began to heal. God, friends, and family tinkered with our hearts, our minds and our souls. Putting the right people and events into place to breathe life, and love into us once again.  Thanks to an angel with a big dream and a crazy ol' truck. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Crazy Christmas Carols and Widow Rage.

I want to know where are the Christmas carols for Widows?   Instead of singing about snuggling up to the fire with that special someone. Where is the Christmas song for the Crazy and insane?   I want a song that is upbeat to keep me going with a deep bass and possibly some heavy metal undertones.  I want a song that talks about trying to hang Christmas lights on a tree by yourself, It's not like one could ask your 5 year old to hold the strand of lights and the ladder for you.   How about the constant chaos that ensues while trying to figure out what christmas decorations to hang,. like should you hang your late husband's stocking up or not. Or should you just go and buy all new ones so you don't have to be filled with "Remember the time when..." . The  memories that break your already breaking heart.  I want a christmas song that lets me cry my eyes out all the while screaming at the top of my lungs with some laughter thrown in. Because at some  point I just crack and eventually everything is funny.
  Honestly where is that Christmas song?  Who is going to write it?  I can sing it, if you can write it. 

  I  have tried numerous times to be "Jolly."  After all, it's been six freaking years! You wouldn't think I would still want to punch someone in the face if I have to hear "Walking in a winter wonderland", again.    To be honest this is the first Christmas that I have actually been  really angry.  I have so much to be grateful for, so many blessings and new beginnings around me and yet I am still filled with the Bah humbugs or better yet Widow Rage.  I think mostly I am mad that I am not Jolly. I so badly want to be. Its just not there. And It may never be there again.  This of course makes me feel sad and weepy. How could I not be happy at Christmas? So many great memories and so many wonderful ones to create.  We have made it 6 years!  We have created those new traditions. But its the old ones that still get to me. I miss putting on the Harry Connick Jr. Christmas album, and dancing around while happily getting out the ornaments and remembering each memory. From our first christmas together to baby's first christmas. Instead I pull out ornaments and I am filled with flashbacks of the very first christmas without Pete.   With my big pregnant belly trying to keep tears from drowning me as I watched the kids decorate the tree.  Or the year after when I tried to put christmas lights on the tree by myself. Or even this year when I opened the box of my favorite snowmen decorations only to find that a snowglobe had broken and now all of them are molded and ruined.  Dread filled me, and Widow Rage kicked in.  I'm still here, sifting through the memories like wading through a muddy barn lot after a huge thunderstorm.  Those memories that stare me in the face reminding me of being so young and innocent. The memories that I keep trying desperately to shove to the bottom of the box buried with my old Christmas stocking. You know, the cutesy ones, where everyone's matches and they all have a theme.
     
     There was something about the snowman box that just pushed me over the limit. I think it is because it's the only box that had memories that I made, memories of learning to find my own way. These crazy snowmen gave me a reason to smile, with their chubby round bodies and scarves around their necks. I have snowmen holding holding buckets of snowballs. Snowmen, riding a sled, Tall snowmen, short snowmen, snowmen with big round bases, and snowmen with earmuffs holding a red heart that says Jesus warms my heart.   But, my absolutely favorite one is soft and fuzzy with his stick arms holding a sparkly star and has a piece of holly tucked into the band around his top hat.   These were the first decorations that made me laugh at Christmas, the first smile, the first thing I looked forward to for christmas decorations were these jolly snowmen.   they just looked at me with happy innocent faces.  While they are inanimate objects, but to me they represented more.  They were my friends and they were just mine. Not Pete's, not the kids and Pete's. not even just for the kids. They were my Christmas memories that helped me to find some Christmas spirit on my own.
   
     One of the hardest things about widowhood is trying to figure out what makes you happy, and brings you joy and a smile to your face.  Since the tragic crash of your whole world crumbling down around you, one has to learn who they are now, without their other half physically present.   The only thing I knew those first few years without him was that I was a widow and an only parent. How was I going to bring jolly Christmas joy back into this house and in myself? I didn't know, but there was something about the snowmen them made me feel something, other than lost. They didn't look at me with that pitiful "oh you poor dear" expression. They didn't tell me sorry for your loss.  They didn't even have an overwhelming amount of christmas colors or sayings all over them. They just had a happy smile, and a scarf.    On one side it shouldn't matter that these snowmen are ruined, it's just some stuffed and wooden snowmen.  I mean,  I have a new husband, a new last name, I don't have to stand on the ladder by myself, or try and put the ribbon on the tree alone.  But even with all of that, it's still there.  The reminder and the pain of  heartbreak, loss, and  sadness.   Damn snowglobe and  snowmen, with their molded bottoms, and mildew aroma.   Stupid loss.  Stupid Christmas decorations.  

 Now, I have to figure out what to do with them.  They are ruined. Some of them are black with mold, some of them are squished, my favorite snowman snow globe has no water in it since it is the culprit for all the mess.   A part of me does not want to throw them away. I can't keep them, but I don't want to just put them back in their box and throw them away in the trashcan. Where they will sit in the cold waiting for the trash person to pick them up  and take them to a landfill where they will spend the rest of their existence.    
The thing is, those snowmen don't know they are molded, and smell bad.. They just keep smiling. They don't know it's been hard to get into this christmas spirit. They don't know that I have decorated and undecorated the christmas tree three times, they don't know that I have hated the Christmas season and buying presents and trying to run around and get everything done. They just know to smile and wait for me to bring them out of the box and place them on the mantle, or on the light switch, or on the speakers.  They sit and smile, and do what they do. They bring joy to whomever enjoys them. 

 It's kind of like being a recovering widow.  For me, I keep moving forward with a smile in hopes that one day I won't open the box of Christmas ornaments and instantly want to put the box back in the attic. It's the hope, that I will once again enjoy the holiday season without being plagued by the fact that it's the 6th Christmas without him, and the 6th Christmas eve that he won't blow out his candles on his birthday cake.    

If I put my jolly self on and gain some perspective I can see that they will be fine. They aren't living and breathing, and they don't have a pulse.  I can pick out the ones that are the worst. Hug them, thank them for their service, and wrap them in a plastic bag. Then put them back into their molded box, close the lid  and set them on the curb.  The ones that aren't black and molded, I could febreeze and hope for the best. Because after all isn't that what we Crazy widows do?   We scream and yell and get mad, and in my case break something, slam something, or even hit a wall with my wrist. But in the end, I take a deep breath, and know that I have to keep moving forward.  Like these snowmen, I will smile and share my story, in Hopes that someone will enjoy knowing they aren't alone.  I will find a songwriter to help me write a real Christmas carol that's true and funny about surviving the holidays, It could be called the Crazy redhaired Christmas,  or a "Widow carol."  But most importantly, I will hug my children and hold hands with two husbands. A physical one on my right and an angelic one on my left.  For it was baby Jesus who grew to be a man, who created a beautiful angelic place for me to meet my Christmas angel, again someday.  
       

        
  
    
  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crazy Recovering Widow.



      Grieving is a strange beast.  When tragedy struck,  I never thought I would  be able to live or breathe again.  But like everything else, time went on.  I eventually learned to live again.  The most unexpected thing happened... I learned to even love again.  A couple months ago and even bigger life event took place, I got married.  I got. married!   I am a wife again.  Let me tell you how surreal it was.  I walked down the aisle with my boys on either side of me holding my hands, my body trembled as I held my breath.  I gazed down end of the aisle to my handsome groom.  I swear I was floating. Was this really happening?    A moment flashed in my mind.  It was a cold cloudy day in November.  I wore a long grey coat over my large pregnant belly. The cold wind blew across my face but I didn't feel its bite of winter.  I looked out across the cemetery at my brother in law and my step sister placed in different spots around the grounds as I tried to figure out the best place to lay my late husband to rest.   The baby moved in my belly and I thought to myself, "Well, that was fun. and I guess that's it."  I thought I lived my life.  I looked at my brother in law, walked over to him and decided the spot he was standing in was the one I wanted.  My lifeless eyes looked at him as I asked him if the plot next to that one was available.  He looked me in the eye and said "Kathryn, you're 30 years old. You don't need the one next to him."
  "I don't want some random person next to him. "
 "We can put it on hold, and if you still want it in 6 weeks then we will buy it."  I looked down at the trampled down brown grass at my feet then back up into his eyes and sighed "Ok."
  Needless to say when that 6 weeks was up we bought it anyway.   I blinked back into reality. Here I was in a beautiful beaded wedding dress. The sun beat down on the top of my head. Smiling faces and beautiful music filled the open air.  I licked my lips and took a deep breath.  The boys left my side, taking their place as groomsmen next to my future husband. I turned and handed my flowers to my daughter who stood beside me.  I turned back around and looked into Jason's smiling face. Holding my hands in his he gently squeezed as he said his vows. The sun warmed my body as I took my turn saying my vows.  The minister announced us Husband and Wife.  We did it.  I did it.  With God's help we had learned to live again, and love deeply.  
 Then why the heartache?  I don't know.  I  will always miss him. I will always wish to see his face, and I will always want to step into his hug.    I woke up this morning missing Pete. Just him. His smile, his hug.   I stared out the window at the rain beating on the window pane and the kids muffled voices.   I am happy and sad too.  I guess Bittersweet is a better word for it.   My eyes filled with tears as I wished for a phone to call Heaven.  If he has to live there, at least let me talk to him occasionally.  Or maybe we could face time.  Maybe God, could just let me see his work in Heaven.  Pete was always a man of God, as I have said in the past he knew he would leave this earth before me. He always said "What's there to be sad about, We will be with Jesus."   So is it selfish to miss him?  
  My aunt and I were talking yesterday about my Grandmother who recently passed.  We talked about the little signs that she left for us.  Grandmother was always saving twisty ties, bread sacks, and rubber bands.  Her little quirks are what we all have in our own homes.  Twisty ties really do work for almost anything that's broken.   My aunt told me about how she kept finding twisty ties in random places. It was like her way of saying she was still here with us.   I told her about how Pete used to knock paper off the refrigerator.   I would come out in the morning and there would be the kids artwork all over the floor. I would smile and know it was him.     I know my grandmother is happy, I know Pete is happy, It's us left behind that misses them.   So what does a Crazy Recovering Widow do with these emotions of being happy and grateful wrapped up in moments of sadness and missing an Angel husband doing God's work?    I keep walking.  I keep dreaming, I keep working at this crazy journey.  But, I don't have to go it alone.  I have three crazy kids, a loving husband, A guardian angel and the love and strength of God.    So I will embrace the tears as the come, I will let the overwhelming emotions spill from my eyes as I remember. But then I will take a deep breath grab the hand of a strong man who loves me the woman, me the widow, and me the Crazy Red Haired Lady.
 
       

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Crazy Trip...

 Today is the day I always go and get a flu shot. Since this day, five years ago, Pete went into the hospital.  There are always critics out there about the flu shot, claiming that it is toxic. For me, I will always be an advocate. After all there are many sicknesses that our parents had that we never experienced due to vaccines.   But, whose to say really, whether the flu shot would have saved his life.  Maybe it wouldn't have mattered.   My kids all get the flu shot super early, like in August.   I guess you could say we are a little gun shy when it comes to the flu. And not just any flu, the H1N1 virus.   I suppose I could go and give blood. But just thinking about that makes me want to throw up. Thanks PTSD, for that one. Giving blood is a great way to help so many people. I know I am grateful for all those who gave blood for Pete and in his honor.  I don't even know how many bags of blood transfusions he actually ended up having. Damn flu.  However, if you are so inclined go and give blood.  It really does help save a life. (rant over)

 I know we are more than what happened to us. But, sometimes I wish it would all go away. I dont want to remember anymore. I don't want these dates to be reminders of life gone too soon.  I think he always knew he was going to leave this earth early.  Even in the hospital one of our last conversations before he went into a coma, he said "Take care of yourself and the kids, this is going to be a long road." I never knew what he meant.  But, he did.  Damn flu,

 This morning I woke up and thought, what can I do for you today, Pete. And I heard "You can be happy."   At first I couldn't remember what was so happy about this day, and then it came to me.  21 years ago, a beautiful friend of ours, daughters birthday, is today.  A happy event for sure.  These beautiful souls took us into their lives and cared for us when the world around us seemed so bleak.  Its  their love, sturdy embrace, and kindness that we celebrate with them today. As these ideas settled into me, I realized that not only do we celebrate her, but we can celebrate their gift of friendship in our lives.   I recently told a friend that this whole experience gave me a courage I didn't know I had. And she said the most profound thing. "God knew you did. Think of it like this. Your courage is like a plane ticket. If God had given it to you three months before you left for your trip you would have lost it. But, because he waited until you were getting ready to board the plane you have used it to it's full potential."   I think of this analogy and realize that God also placed the perfect people along the way, like stops on our trip, where we could find a hug, a warm meal, and a kind smile.  These stops helped me feel rejuvenated and  while I didn't understand it before, I now see that these stops were God's love and blessings, that helped us get back on the plane and keep flying.

While I don't like to remember the pain, the chaos, and the heartbreak of losing him, there are aspects to it that I gained. A plane ticket of courage, friends that are now family, perspective, Faith and Hope. The Hope that it wouldn't always be this way, Hope that we would find love in unexpected places, and Faith that God never left our side. Technically Pete didn't either. He just changed forms. No longer an earthly being, but a heavenly one. Who stands by our side and hugs us with angel wings.  When people say it "takes a villiage." it really does.  These beautiful souls that we celebrate with today, are family even if they aren't a blood relative. As I have come to find through this crazy journey, the ones I thought loved us for who were, didn't. And the people that never knew us until this fateful event, filled in the cracks, of our heartbreak.  Granted we will always have a scar, but it's this scar, that taught us to fly.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Crazy Recovery.

How many times have I heard people say to me, "Oh, I understand." This makes me want to punch them. Because unless they have had a major life altering loss, you have no idea. . You can empathize with me and that's fine. But for God's sake don't tell me that you understand. Or my other favorite " I could not even imagine what I would do if that happened to me." Which makes me want to respond with. "Try."

   As many of you know my new saga is that I am dealing with PTSD.  And while I understand that this is part of my my "Crazy Journey." In this moment, I hate it.  The rational side of me realizes that this is how I deal with painful memories, and will be grateful for the perspective I will gain. The irrational and angry side wants to scream and yell "No, more." I don't want to keep revisiting these awful images. I don't want to keep coming around the corner and seeing him intubated. I don't want to experience those flashbacks that arise at the most inopportune time.  I just want to create new happy ones to drown out the tormented pain that comes forward.

 The most annoying thing is that no one can understand this kind of "crazy." These are my memories, my flashbacks, my pain. Sometimes I wish I could take my head off and just walk away from it for awhile.  I do take comfort in talking with a friend who has also experienced PTSD. However, this type of insanity feels very alienating. But, the most irritating part of it?  Is experiencing Pete's loss all over again.   The heart wrenching ache is back but in a new form.  As if I am finally sober, and the drunken grief haze, has worn off.  Luckily the difference from then to now is that  I have someone to lean on.  He gives me courage and pushes me forward when I stand in frozen fear.   I am in a new state of crazy, if that's even possible. Before it was that I didn't want anyone to help me, but when they all left I wanted them to come back. I would be starving and make dinner, then sit down and feel full.  I would call up friends for play dates then when they got here I wanted them to go home. The crazy that encircles me now is. Loving a man who lives in heaven and loving a man on earth. Wrapped up in missing him and yet not missing him. Understanding that his body was tired, and yet  mad at him for leaving me here.  I want my old life back, and yet I want nothing to do with it.  I want to move forward and leave these painful terrifying memories behind and take the good ones with me. The ones that are buried somewhere in my mind but only occasionally do I catch glimpses of.

  It's  like being trapped in two worlds. The past and the present. Each day that I listen to that audio recording, I experience the terror and the confusion all over again. Then after the session is done I go to  bed and have dreams of being in hospitals. One night I chased Pete around the whole hospital but never once saw his face.  My most recent one, I was shot in the heart. There was no blood just a big empty whole. I walked through the corridors of the hospital while nurses and doctors walked by as if it was nothing unusual. If I think it through in a rational manner I know its my brains way of sorting it out.  I feel grateful but angry at the process.   Its overwhelming to say the least. My brain gets stuck back there with images that make no sense. Then in the present, I am trying to parent, tackle my fears of driving, manage the finances, maintain the every day demands of keeping up the house. Filled with worry and guilt that I am not being a good mom and finance because the crazy keeps sneaking in. While desperately looking for ways to keep the anxiety at bay and searching for quiet moments to finish my book.  I stand and stare out the kitchen window wishing for a break. But wonder where would I go? I can't outrun the flashbacks, the memories, and the demands of every day.  There is one place I like to go but its not close by, and at this point in my driving homework I can't even drive myself there.

So it circles around. Healing is crazy, grieving is crazy, letting go is crazing, and moving forward with even an ounce of sanity is,crazy.   My new mantra "Thank you God for giving me the Courage and the Strength I need." keeps me going. The hidden joys of remembering something painful and being grateful for the missing puzzle piece falling into place.  I take comfort in strong loving arms that hold me while I cry and loving me even when I feel bat shit crazy.  Delighting in my children's laughter as they hug me tight combined with watching with awe as my children run into J's lap for extra snuggles and tickles.  It's in these moments of sanity I look around and see love where I never thought I would have it again.  I know that if as I continue to trust the process, the blank spots will be revealed and with their reveal I can finally let them go. Where they can no longer sneak up and take a hold of me bringing me to my knees.  I feel as if these memories, and missing pieces that have been wrapped up in a cocoon, will someday be set free into something more grandiose that I ever could have imagined. And for that I am grateful. Which sounds crazy I am sure, But I am a crazy kind of gal. Intense to a fault, yet hopeful that my radiant, strong, confident, wings are emerging. With butterfly wings on my back, God in my heart, an Angel by my side, a loving fiance holding my hand, and my arms full of kids I know love outweighs the doom. After all it was love that started it, love that heals us, but most of all, it is love that binds us together on this crazy recovering journey.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crazy,Stupid,Grieving.

What is it about grieving that feels like it will never go away? I have moments where I feel that I am free from all of it, then something unexpected happens and I am back in the thick of it.  Its not the same heart break, its just a new level.  There is this saying about how God doesn't give you more than you can handle. But the question remains. Is it that God doesn't give you more than you can handle? Or is it that your body and your brain can't take any more so eventually it just checks out.  Then when you are stronger new "events" which create triggers send you backwards to those places of dark trauma.  A trauma that I didn't even know was still an issue.

 As I mentioned in my previous post I was having more panic attacks and issues with driving.  Sometimes just the thought of visualizing myself driving down the road makes me feel light headed.  Little did I know this was just the tip of the iceberg.  Dread filled my body and heart as I realized that I needed to get back on a anti depressant, of which I had worked so hard at getting off of, but I also needed to go back to grief counseling as well. Questions filled my mind. How could this happen? I was doing so well. I was healing and moving forward. There is joy in our laughter and love in our hearts. What is going on?  To which I responded "Damn grief,. Why cant it just go away." 

 Recently I have realized one of the reasons why its not going away. One word.. "Trauma."  Trauma surrounding not only the events that took place in his passing but all the crazy, scary, terrifying shit, that came after. There are parts of it that I thankfully can't remember and yet many that are so vivid I wish I could forget them.  It seems that all the grieving I was doing before, about missing him and the hope of rebuilding our life was just the ground work for the other grieving that would take place.  The current grieving is about the effect all that crazy trauma took on my psyche.  According to my grief therapist I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The driving? Is just a manifestation of the PTSD. 

So, where do I start. At the beginning. Luckily she specializes in PTSD and has devised a plan to get me healed and back in the car and eventually off the meds too. Thankfully.  The scary is getting in the car and making myself do it everyday. Drive to the store, drive through the neighborhood, drive with a friend in the car, drive. drive. drive. but not all at once, and not for very long. Its more than the driving though. Its digging deep and bringing out those traumatic moments and letting them heal.  I am not afraid of the hard work, I know it is a process.  Mostly, I just want be able to get in the stupid car and go where ever I want to go.  I often annoy myself.  Just get in the car damnit!  Its not that hard. And yet it is that hard. Stupid grieving! Stupid trauma! 

Three steps forward and two back. I am healing, and grieving, and traumatized and grateful. I feel like a freak of nature.  I want to stand in the middle of my street and yell at the top of my lungs at how angry I am to be in this space, and in the next breath I want to sing God's praises for not only carrying us when we couldn't stand but also for bringing a loving man into our lives who loves us in spite of all our crazy.

So what now? I don't know. I guess do what I always do. Keep breathing, keep writing, keep dreaming, keep laughing, keep crying, but most of all, keep healing. After all God only gives us what we can handle right?   With my traumatized brain and my grateful heart, I relish in everlasting love, laughter from my children and Hope that I will be back in the car driving confidently on this crazy road to healing.   






Saturday, March 15, 2014

Crazy Re-living.

 I have taken a hiatus from writing this blog. I didn't stop grieving, I just went into hiding. Now that I have emerged, I would say that I have become a recovering widow.  With recover comes a new type of healing, its called re living.  The irritating thing about grief, is that re entry into living is sort of like a new form of grieving. I am happy, and yet I still miss him, and yet I don't.  I knew what living life with Pete looked like, but I had no clue as to what living a happy life looked like, without him physically present.   I knew that it thankfully had to be different.  After all, I didn't want the same life now that I had finally woken up from my grieving coma.  So what does re living look like? Its messy, its complicated, its loving, its joyful, and, its bittersweet. I have learned to love in a way that I didn't think was possible.  For me re living takes a special man to come in and not think that we were broken.  What he saw, was a family that needing repairing and re loving.

There are many re-living factors that are just plain hard to over come. I feel overwhelmed. I feel that it is my job to carry every emotion, frustration or anxiety that comes through my front door. Whether it is something that happened at school with Aryanna, or a homework assignment that Petey doesn't want to do, or that Chase Leo is mad that he cant have exactly what he wants at all times. That's just the kids. That doesn't even cover J's emotions, frustrations or what he deals with while at school. In carrying all of these things I have forgotten my own emotions and have wedged them deep inside to make room for their wounds. While irrational as this seems it the only way I know. I think its because, part of me is still stuck in survival mode.   That's what I did before. I carried the kids grief and I carried my own. Now I that I have J, I carry his stuff too.   As if I am punishing myself in some way for wanting to live a happy and crazy life.  

Why do I do this? I don't know. I know that if the roles were reversed I would definitely want Pete to find love and happiness. And knowing my Pete, I know in my gut, that he would want these things for me too.  Possibly this is just another lesson in learning to re live.   I am starting to see the effects of why carrying the family is not such a good idea.   My panic attacks are back and they are geared to a specific part of my life, driving. No idea why. Its very annoying. I used to have panic attacks as a kid and my dad could never understand them. Which is common, people who don't understand what its like, just write me off, as being weird or crazy.  The problem is, is that I have to drive. Drive to pick up the kids, drive to get the groceries, drive to ballet.  Driving is just part of every day life.  I have found myself avoiding going certain places and situations for fear of having to drive on the highway or crowded roads.  Honestly, just sitting here thinking about driving to ballet on Wednesday or a dental appointment that is at the end of the month my heart starts to race, and my hands sweat.  I don't understand it and I don't know how to fix it. Any ideas? 

 The question I seem to struggle with is this, am I afraid to drive? Or is the driving a symptom of too much emotional shit that is still hanging around?  Part of being a mom is caring and carrying the burdens of your family.   So if carrying the burdens feels like re grieving and not re living then how does one cope?  

There is no handbook on grieving just like there is no handbook on how to re-learn to re-live.  I don't know, maybe I am just a crazy red haired lady learning to re live with a recovering widows perspective.