Hitting the Wall

This past week, I was hopeful about beginning to make some positive shifts in my life. About trying to focus more on the joys of life. I had some glimmer of the sort of energy and zest I used to have. Unfortunately, that didn’t last. Instead, I found myself in a state of overwhelm, to the point of having an anxiety attack on Monday - which hasn’t happened in over a year.

I know from that, something is definitely not going right. The whole rest of the week has proven no better… my mind will not seem to turn off. Constant racing about all number of things from the pressures and expectations of being a step mom, to the stress of trying to “get somewhere” with my business that never feels like it’s getting anywhere. The nagging stress that having some extra money would really help Mike and I out, and the pressure I’ve put on myself to try and find all sorts of ways to bring that in… none of which have panned out really so far. I guess sometimes we don’t even realize how hard things are getting, until we hit the wall. The wall for me, is anxiety.

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Losing Pieces of You

When someone you love dies, you don't lose them all at once. 

You lose them little by little. 

Breathe by breathe. 

Fragment by fragment. 

You lose them hour by hour. Minute by minute. Month by month. Year by lengthy year. 

It doesn't happen all at once. 

It doesn't ever NOT happen. 

Pieces of that person, that life, fall away as time goes by. 

Sometimes you don't notice it all at once, 

and other times, 

it hits you through the skull like an ice-pick, 

chopping away at your heart. 

When someone you love dies,

they don't die in one moment. 

They die all the time,

over and over again, 

forever. 

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That Moment

That moment when you think you see him. The same shirt, the same belly, the same hair…from a distance, without your glasses, you really, truly think it’s him. Your heart lurches…you look again more closely, and even for the next moment, knowing it couldn’t possibly be him, it still looks so much like him your heart continues to pound. 

 

You don’t want to put your glasses on, you don’t want to let your brain be rational, you just don’t want to remember just for another long moment, that it’s not him. Just for another second, please be him.

 

It’s not.

 

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After Death Shockers~

I guess one of the most shocking aspects following Chuck’s death was the necessity to let go of relationships that had always seemed strong and secure.  Or, if not strong and secure, at least managed. Family relationships, right?

Seriously. 

It was brought home to me that a relationship that I’d thought was okay, and fairly honest, was toxic to me and, yes, existed only because of him.  That was hard and I felt guilty for letting go, knowing how it would hurt Chuck to know such a thing had happened.  I had so much guilt about it for so long…

But words became swords and the impact almost hospitalized me, which shocked me again, because I always considered myself stronger than I was at that moment that saw me on the floor, in the midst of my first anxiety attack.  And, Jesus, the hugeness of the attack terrified me.

Sigh…

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Over the Hump

0729171638b_HDR.jpgAs Sarah noted on Sunday, I stepped off into the mountains last Friday, disappearing into the wilderness on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.  It’s no surprise to any of you that have read my posts for these past two years that backpacking, in isolation, is the most transcendent experience that I personally can have.  No matter how my wanderings unfold, they always mean something to me.  

However, I haven’t really experienced anything new in the three plus years since Megan was first admitted to the hospital.  I’ve went to familiar places.  Places that I could ramble into, disappear for a few days, and feel the comfort and safety of a home away from home.   Places that I had been to so many times that I could navigate every trail blindfolded and say “Hello, again” to every tree.  

 

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Maybe I'll Get A Cat

I'm finding it a bit lonely, this whole “being alone” thing.  Back in my real life I often craved alone time.  Just one hour of peace and quiet was like winning the lottery, because the last time I had such a thing was somewhere around 1992.

The last couple of decades have been filled with career and intermingled with babies, followed by toddlers, followed by teens. Several of those teen years were particularly difficult, even before Ben got sick, so it has been a long, long time since I experienced peace and quiet.

Now it seems that all the hours are quiet. Not much peace, just endless quiet.  

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Being Responsible for Our Joy

This past Friday, Mike left to go backpacking for the weekend. I was having a hard week, and Friday was no different. Feeling emotional, and just plain sad, for no apparent reason other than - I suppose - feeling weighed down by life. Mike’s felt the same lately. So I was really proud of him finally going on this trip for himself. Not something a few hours away that was “good enough”, but a 7 hour drive down to a part of the Appalachian trail he has always wanted to hike.

I’ll of course let him share about that experience, but this trip of his has had a very good affect on me as well. On Friday, Shelby was with her grandparents until the evening, and Mike had left around lunchtime for his trip. I was feeling pretty crappy, and frankly, jealous of him getting to take off on an adventure. With the suggestion of a friend, I decided to seize the day. So instead of working on the computer all day long, I put on a swim suit, grabbed a cooler and snacks and books and I drove about an hour up to my favorite beach on Lake Erie for the afternoon. And there it was… that long-forgotten feeling of freedom. The feeling that you could do anything you felt like doing with your day, and just wander through it enjoying things. I can’t even tell you how long it has been since I’ve felt that. Even on a weekend.

Then yesterday, Shelby and I dressed up as pirates and went to the Renaissance Faire. For the day we enjoyed fantasy and mystery and magic. Dragons and jousting and lemonade and sugary treats. It's been a much needed break from everyday life...

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Hiatus

So I moved back to my home state of Massachusetts at the end of last year, after 26 years in NYC, to finish writing my book, live with my parents temporarily, and get back on track financially, after 5 years of struggling pretty hard following the sudden death of my dear husband Don. 

Living with mom and dad at age 45 is sobering. It feels like going backwards. Going from my active and independent social life in NYC, to smalltown suburbia where your parents know your every move, is just strange. The first few months here, I had no car, no job, and not much of a life. I came here to write the book, and that is what Ive been doing. But you can only write so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week. After awhile, my eyes start to hurt, I lose focus, or Ive just had enough emotional toll for one day and cant do it anymore. 

The past few months, things have started to brighten up some. I have started feeling more like an adult again. I started dating on the dating sites here, mostly so Id have something to do on weekends and have a social life. I picked up a small, part-time job working as the Social Media advisor for a local Real Estate Agent, I got myself on my parent's car insurance so that I could have access to driving a car, and I started a local Massachusetts Soaring Spirits Regional Group, planning 2x per month social gatherings for widowed people. And then, about 6 weeks ago, from one of my many dating experiences on the dating site, I found my person. My "next great love story." I fell in love. 

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The Tree of Grief

Imagine a tree. Any kind of tree you like. Oak, elm, evergreen, lemon, plumeria. That tree is your life.

 

It began when the seed was created by its parents, like you were. It began to sprout. It began to root. It made a small, tiny leaf, followed by another small, tiny leaf. It threw out one small tentative tendril of root, followed by another, and another. 

 

You began to grow, adding cells, becoming a human. You grew slowly, like the tree. Each new branch, each new leaf, each new root, each new layer of bark. Each new memory, each new milestone, each new layer of skin, each new and stronger, longer bone.

 

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Grace~

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