This will be my last blog post.
Michele will pick up Mondays until she can find a replacement for me.
I'm not sure exactly how I know I'm done writing here. Your comments and the knowledge that I'm connecting with others is still healing for me.
Even though it is more challenging now, I can still think of things to write about. So, struggling for topics is only a tiny part of it. I still feel grief and pain and I still miss Dave. He's never far from my mind. I'm still traumatized and suffer from depression.
It is harder to come up with ideas because I'm not constantly immersed in the grief anymore, but not impossible.
I am suffering from a bout of depression. I've learned from experience that they can often come on when I get overwhelmed. I should know this by now and guard like hell against getting to this point, but I was convinced I was ready to take anything on. I was feeling so good.
And then, several life events converged and now, all at once, big things are happening. All good things (albeit stressful) but it was just enough to tip the scales and here I am, struggling to get out of bed and to function again. It helps to have support, but the depression always turns itself inside me and becomes a constant attack on my self worth, so I feel as though I'm a burden. And the more depressed I feel, the more help I need, and thus the more burdensome I feel I've become and this makes the depression worse.
I was listening to a Moth podcast tonight in which a funeral home director talked about his long history of burying people's loved ones.
He said he believed that when we die, we go home. I thought that sounded so beautiful and comforting.
I wonder, when I die, what Dave would think of me when I came home? What would that reunion be like? Would it be as if no time had passed between his death and mine? Would he he say he was glad I had found happiness after his death and that he was proud of me for pushing onward even when I didn't want to?Read more
Before he died, Dave had to be hospitalized a couple times. Once for an attack of pancreatitis and once for a strange flu-like illness that kept him very ill for over 2 weeks.
Each incidence, separated by years, brought about my complete unhinging. Just the thought of Dave having an illness serious enough to send him to urgent care several times, or the ER, or god-forbid, be hospitalized, would cause me anxiety. I suffered panic attacks both times and was nearly as ill as he was, except my illness was mental. I was crawl-up-the-walls, hysterical, uncontrollable, can't-eat, can't-sleep, lose control of my bodily functions scared.
It was such a primal fear and other than my previous traumas, I could never quite explain it. I was too fearful to be very supportive of Dave, and that sent me to therapy specifically to try to conquer this phobia of mine. It was a phobia, after all. Fear when your loved one is sick is normal. This was an unhinging of the most spectacular variety. At one point, the thought of admitting myself to the psych ward sounded soothing.
His final hospitalization sent me over the edge. I couldn't even drive near that hospital without a full panic attack until months after he died and that was under great duress. I moved away, in part, so I'd never have to see that hospital again.Read more
I was raised to keep my feelings to myself. Burdening my father with my feelings and needs was simply not something I felt safe doing. The consequence was that I repressed my needs and feelings for so long, and so well, that I forgot how to know what I'm feeling.
It sounds crazy, I know. How does one not know what she's feeling? You feel something and you name it. Easy!
Unfortunately, sometimes, it just doesn't work that way for me. I can go very, very numb or feel fear only, for example, even when the appropriate emotion for most everyone else would be anger, or longing, or sadness, etc.
It's because of this that sometimes I need a substitute situation to have feelings about. A scenario that is not my life, but resembles my life, that I can attach my feelings to and then I'll often be able to identify the actual feelings I am having and work through them.
Movies are one of the best ways for me to accomplish this. They're highly emotional and great for triggering.Read more
As we hike through a mountainous eastern Oregon wilderness, I feel that dip in my stomach, like the moment before you plunge down a roller coaster hill as I think about the man walking in front of me on the trail.
I feel solid in footing and grateful for the chance to be living a life with him. I feel, after knowing him for 8 months, that he had become my closest friend, ally and partner. I also know that Dave would be so happy to know that I was feeling all those things again. It sure didn't feel like I ever would.
When we stop to eat lunch next to a mirror-calm alpine lake, the feelings intensify and something tells me to tell him exactly what is in my heart and mind. I tend to do the vast majority of my thinking about emotions internally and only very little externally so I had held the thoughts and feelings inside all morning, rolling them around in my mind, looking at them from all sides.
When the thoughts won't leave me alone, I know it's time to say something.
I wrap my arms around his waist and he wraps his around my shoulders and rests his chin on the top of my head.
Into his chest I tell him I'm so excited for our future together.
You are? he whispers wistfully.
Yes. I want to be your wife.
The words feel like tiny tender seedlings, so determined and yet so vulnerable.
You do? he says again, with gratitude making his voice lilt at the end.
Are you proposing to me? he asks.
Yeah. I think I am! The words grow in power.Read more
For 15 years (from 20 to 35 - while Dave and I were together), I didn't think I wanted kids. I knew Dave really didn't and I figured that little nagging question mark in the depths of my heart (Should I? Am I missing out?) was just about questioning and doubting, which is what I do about everything.
From the moment he died, though, something shifted within me. My first thought was My only chance to be a mom is gone. I missed it. It's over and will never be and I only want it now that I can't have it!Read more
I've been thinking about the loss of my mother a lot lately. She died in August, so no wonder. This time of year, her absence is particularly palpable.
She's been gone 33 years and I've never gotten over her death. I don't feel at peace about it. I feel a missing part, a vacuum where she should be. I rail at the universe for a life without her. I'm not okay with the fact that she had to leave me when I needed her most and when she most wanted to be here with me. In the last 33 years, I've adjusted to carrying around this loss. Mother's Days continue to hurt with an intensity that surprises me every year. But I've carried this with me for so long that I no longer know what it's like to not feel it. But no one should grow up without their mother.
I never dream about Dave. This doesn't make sense to me. He was the most important person in my life for 15 years. We were so close and we spent so much time together.
Where is he in my dreams?
I dream of people who've barely been in my life at all instead.
I have stress dreams about teaching like I used to have every late summer as fall approached. The kids are completely out of control and I can't quiet them down or start a lesson no matter what I do. I can't even yell loudly enough to be heard over their racket. I can't get to work on time no matter what I try and my students are all alone in my classroom all morning, I come to work barely dressed with no time to go home and get clothes.Read more
In the car the other day an Iron and Wine song came on.
I've never paid attention to the lyrics before but suddenly, they penetrated and I heard them for the first time.
It's not a new topic for a song: a soldier at war, missing his wife and kid and finally coming home.
However, I wasn't expecting the twist at the end...Read more