Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I walk around as an automaton. I feed the kids. I wash my face. I buy chicken feed. I seem to be moving. I seem to be alive. Sometimes, I believe it myself. I think, “Okay. We’ll be okay. I can do this.” People tell me that I look good. That I seem to be healing. It’s not me. It’s the robot that applied my make-up. It is the instinct that drives me. It’s the habit of years of doing before my life ended.
Now, I put the bleach in the fridge. I forget to feed the fish for weeks and one of them dies of starvation. I mean to buy Christmas gifts for people. But Christmas passes and I still haven’t done it. I don’t phone people back. I don’t even remember that they called. I leave the house a mess until I impale my foot on a thumb tack dropped days before.
People say that they too suffer from this. Yes, I used to laugh at my forgetting ways and ‘mommy brain’. This is different. There is no one at the helm.
Often, I hear myself talking. But I don’t really know what I am saying. I am gone. I am asleep. The lights are on, but no one is home.
Then, I wake for short periods of time. I wake and scream. I lock the bathroom door to get the only privacy I can get. I sob and cry out. I pull my hair. I want to throw up. I swear. I rage. I want out of this hell.
I worry that what is happening will cause more grief for my children. Will causse judgement from others. But I can’t help it. I can’t stop crying. I can’t pour out the pain fast enough to get it together to hold these two little souls close and tell them the lie again, “It is going to be okay.”
I have no one to call. Jeff died. Robo ran away. Everyone else who lives in this house is under four feet tall. People outside this house have their own problems. Everyone tells me to let them know if I need help. I won’t. They have families and lives they need to attend to. In all honesty, I often don’t want to talk. To see anyone. To maintain these fucking ridiculous social graces that no longer mean a rat’s ass to me.
I know this keeps going. I know that it is too long. I know that my lack of healing is a burden. I know that it is more comfortable for everyone if I just maintain the façade. So I do. And I close up again. And my children can see a mother who doesn't cry out and moan from the loss. I go back to my hiding place inside. I curl up in the foetal position and resume my slumber until the next time I wake to find that it is true. And he is gone.
Monday, December 29, 2008
He is part of the family. He has been my emotional support and my shoulder. We take care of each other. But have I used his connection to Jeff as a bandage to protect the wound? Now that he's gone, the sore is raw, open and gooey again like it has been under a wet bandaid. It is much worse than it was when Robo was home. I miss Jeff more intensely. I feel his absence more acutely. Is it just that 'part' of Jeff that Robo brought with him or was it the comfort of his gentle presence? I don't know.
I do miss Robo intensely as well. His quiet way with the kids. His twisted sense of humour. His gentle comfort and constant companionship. The confidences he told me. His ability to listen to anything I have to say and take it in stride. His interest in the goings-on in the house.
I didn't feel so alone. I felt like someone would noticed if I 'fell'. Someone would care if I broke down. He was here and he cared.....And I felt the same for him. I cared.
But now, I'm angry. He left. He left my kids without saying good-bye. He had no real obligation to me or them but we love him and my kids have had them in their lives for longer than they can remember. I can't risk my kid's happiness as he comes and goes from their lives. The last thing Liv had said to him was "I love you, Bobo. When I get home can we start the sea monkeys you got me?" He is important to them and seems to forget how much they love him. They are asking where he is. When is he coming home? Can we wait to set up the sea-monkeys so Robo can do it too? How can he hurt them like that? How can he just leave home and not look back? What did we do?
The other night, after Robo had left, I sat crying wondering where he was and what demons in his head had caused his hasty departure. I sat in the dark with the extinguished fire until my feet got too cold. I went to my sock drawer and pulled out a pair of socks. They were the ones Jeff had put in my stocking last Christmas. Purple stripes. Soft and cozy. I pulled them on. And I remembered. Jeff loved me. I was worthwhile. I meant something to him as much as he meant the world to me. And that is all that matters, I guess.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
So we've been doing quite a few indoor activities. I am overjoyed to be able to include Briar in some of them as he has been too young to assist in candle-making, etc. We made pomander oranges yesterday and he had a great time! Each time he added a clove, he'd hold it out proudly and squeal, "Look! I did it! Another one too?!"
I was so excited to find this post and with it another cool indoor activity as the snow continues to fall. We'll be giving them a try today!
I am being asked yet again to check the Santa tracker to see where the jolly old man is, I'll post this and click away.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It is truly, stunningly beautiful to look at....but I am getting a bit tired of the shovelling, frozen hoses, and slippery walkways. We are expecting another 10-20 cm tonight.....I guess we'll just hunker down again, turn on the Christmas tunes and snuggle. However, Winter Solstice was a magical day for us. We made a cake that was complete with a snow scene of our family (Liv, Briar, Me, Jeff with a toothpick beard, Robo, Freckles, Moe, a turkey, and two chickens...we got a bit tired of making chickens....) made out of marshmallows.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
All I can say, is I am sick of drama. I want to live a very boring life. A quiet life. One where I know what to expect and can take things slowly and quietly. I am sure it is just a dream but I need rest from chaos. I want willing to learn and grow from all that life has to teach us. I want to evolve. But I am so exhausted from all the changes that have occurred in the last year. It makes every mundane thing that I felt compelled to complain about in my 'past life' (before Jeff died) a desired and wonderful thing - the luxury of finding fault in stupid vacuous shit.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The scenes out the back windows are stellar....but I can't think about beauty. I keep thinking about all my small family has lost in the last year.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Please check out the link above! I am horrified to hear about this. Please write letters. I know I'm Canadian, but there must be something more we can do to stop this from happening in February. I've written our prime minister, Stephen Harper, and my province's premier, Gordon Campbell to see if there is something that could be done (I realize that this is a shot in the dark from here in Canada). I've signed the petition. And now am posting this on my blog....I am having trouble having time this morning to write eloquently about this issue so I am going to leave it to others who have already....If you'd like to read more, check out Inhabitots , Uncommon Grace , Handmade Toy Alliance , Mom-101 ....okay, I could go on and on.....
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It's been too painful to deal with this loss. I avoid Jeff's photos. I redirect my thoughts. I do things that seem to take the pain away for a moment. When I talk of the loss of Jeff, I refuse to feel the sadness. I push it down. I turn away. I try to forget. Like a door closed to a fire, the smoke eventually seeps under through the cracks.
I almost felt smug with this coping mechanism. I thought that I had found a way to survive with out crumbling at least once a day. We all hear that you 'should' allow yourself to feel emotions so they don't come back later to get you. But I guess I thought I was the exception. "I can do it", I told myself, "I'm strong." But it turns out that I'm not strong. I'm a coward. I've been hiding under a blanket and hoping that it will be gone when I emerge. Like a child hiding from a monster. But I am hiding from sadness, loneliness and fear.
But now, I can't hide. The last two days have been really hard. I am on the verge of tears constantly. I feel lost and beyond sad.
It's like a wound that superficially closed over but still brews infection. It looked okay but beneath the surface the infection has been pushing at the scab and pulsing. The pressure has been building and causing a lump to form. Suddenly, the wound has broken open again, spilling its' pus and reminding me of the initial injury. I scurry to find a band aid but what it really needs is fresh air and an occasional cleansing.
I have still have dreams that he's alive and I am happy. Suddenly, he can't breathe. Instead of trying to save him as I did in real life, I run away. I hide. He dies alone.
What I'm learning is that there is no convenient time for grieving. I can't hide. I have to feel this. I don't want to. I want to curl up in a ball and sleep. I am tired and I don't want to do this.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Jeff is gone. He died. He won't be here for Christmas.
I will wake up in the morning alone.
I will go to bed without him.
I will have no presents to give him.
I will have no gifts to open.
I miss him so badly that there are times that I wish I could die. Like the widows who throw themselves onto their husbands funeral pyres. I do not want to face a life without him....But I fucking well have to. I have to put my head down and plow forward. Not look up until my end. Then I hope I'll will see him again. Who knows. But I have to try to cling to this feeble, fragile, illogical string of hope because other than the kids, it is all I have.
*Check out the bird in the above picture. I know this photo isn't stellar but the bird looks like a toy that was thrown. No outstretched wings. Just flung up in the air. Hmmm.
Liv and Briar are enjoying it immensely. I have to say that I also love the feeling of being hunkered down in our cozy little house with a warm fire, lots of crafts and all the sweet little birds coming to the feeders for food. We went for a wintery moonlit walk last night before bed. Although it was cold, it was beautiful and serene. Not many car venture out here when it's like this. The sound of total silence was almost as breathtaking as the scenery.> **Sorry about the photo order. I am just not feeling like putting them in the proper places at the moment. Would rather be outside with the kidlets.
Friday, December 12, 2008
A few days ago, Liv had said to me that she'd like to perform in the concert. We had not practiced anything so I was a bit nervous not knowing if she'd balk at the idea of every eye on her. She decided that she'd sing 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star/Baa Baa Black Sheep/ABC' so that everyone would know that they all shared Mozart's melody. She looked so small and sweet standing up there at the front of the loaned church. Briar joined her and offered his support by standing there playing with his 'invisible dog on a leash' (one of the cool crafts made by one of Liv's friends)...Sam also came to stand with his "Wia" at the end of her performance.
As I watched her stand there, her little elbows clutched to her sides, shy smile on her face, I fought away stinging tears wishing that Jeff could be here to see his 'Bean' and what a big girl she's becoming. He would have whistled and whooped when she was finished; scooped her up in his big arms and hugged her close until she squirmed to get down with her giant toothless grin.
She enjoyed herself so much. She asked that we do it every year and has already started planning her 2009 performance! She is so much of Jeff it amazes me. There is no way I could get up there and sing....Jeff would have done it....in his underwear if he felt like it. But last night, it was Liv. And she was great.
Monday, December 08, 2008
And that these two little ones are the most amazing teachers of living after your life has stopped.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Somehow, we found a group that deal with loss and grief....not just death, but divorce as well (although the adults dealing with death or divorce are placed in seperate groups as many of our problems are different....though there are some similarities).
I've met other young widows. Liv has made friends that have lost parents. I think both of us feel understood and not so alone when we go to our meetings. I can not say enough about how wonderful and kind the volunteers have been. The understanding Liv has been shown is reflected in her little smiles at the end of each session when she tells me about her feelings and the projects they worked on.
I want anyone out there with children dealing with loss to know of 'Rainbows'. If you know of anyone who is traveling this road, let them know that there are people who understand. If you are not touched by these difficulties yourself, maybe, if you can afford it, send a small donation to this society to allow it to continue helping the little ones and theri parents who feel so lost and so alone.
*The link above is for the Canadian group....Here is one for the US...
Thank you, Rainbows....
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Today, I sold our car. The car that Jeff bought me for Valentine's Day in 2006. The car Jeff died in. My little blue Toyota Matrix. It was small, safe and economical....But we had the truck for carrying larger loads and muddy dogs. I didn't need to bring multiple children in the car very often as I wasn't caring for anyone other than my kiddos or the occasional playdate.
But now, life is different. I am going to need to look to a future where I can bring in an income and care for my children alone. I need to be able to move objects by myself and cart various things home that would not fit in my little car.
So now, I own a minivan. I decided and made the deal myself. It was scary and I kept worrying that I was being taken advantage of....Possibly a bit paranoid. But I did it. Myself.
The kids and I quite like the van. It's a few years older than the car thus making it more affordable. It's clean and safe. It is blue just as my little car was...Jeff's favourite colour as Liv pointed out.
Liv had her trepidation about the van. She cried the first night and asked me to go get the car back because it reminded her of Daddy. I remembered crying when my dad talked of selling our little Vauxhal (a little white German car that our family had when I was a child - it`s floor was rusted out, we would watch the road go by as we drove along and we sang songs about `Daddy`s little Vauxhal`). It was certainly a different circumstance but I could empathize with her feelings of security and comfort in the car....especially after losing so much this year. But now, it is like a fort. She wants to show all her friends her new van. They ask to `play in the van`. I am loving the space and the ability to comfortably take our friends along.
So although one door has closed, another has opened. I do feel sad. I do have such fond memories of our little car that I had thought the kids would learn to drive. But I must be flexible and not hold onto things that do not provide the needs we now have just because they are a link to Jeff. This is a hard lesson to learn. But I am doing it.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We started with a store bought (cringe) straw wreath to which we used hot glue to adhere four long red ribbons through the centre of the wreath.
I bought four small wood candle holders from the craft store which we painted green and glued to the wreath as well.
I lined up all the ribbons, tied a knot and hung it up! Simple! We are going to do some candle dipping this coming week to make some candles for the wreath (although traditionally three are purple and one is pink).
I love how it turned out! It looks so earthy to me....and Scandinavian.
While Liv and I worked on our masterpiece, Briar played in the bin of birdseed. So fun! An hours worth in fact!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
While searching for a Fuckles-proof kennel at one of the pet stores in town, an attendant came to give me a hand. I explained that the dog is having some issues with seperation anxiety since the recent death of my husband followed closely by the death of my other dog. She kindly gave me a hug (although I seem to now be immune to the tears that used to accompany any sentence that involved Jeff and death...it is just my life and I am used to saying it unfortunately.) She helped me pick out a fully metal kennel and we continued to talk about things that could help Freak-les feel more comforted in my absence.
I was explaining to her that this destructive behaviour has baffled me. That he has been a pretty good dog up until the death of Jeff and Eli. That he was annoying but sweet and great with kids (as I gestured to Liv and Briar as they looked in the window of the grooming salon with Robo's help).
Seemingly out of the blue, she says to me, "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" To which I agree with trepidation thinking that she'll ask me the standard, "How did he die?" or maybe "Do you want me to tell you that you have a bean stuck in your front teeth?" But no, she says, "Is this someone new in your life?" ......My brain goes "Huh?" I say, "Who? What?....Him?! Dear lord, NO. He's like....an uncle to the kids and has always been around." I laugh uncomfortably and wonder at the impetus behind this question. I am torn between laughing hysterically at the idea or feeling indignant. I am guessing she sensed my shock and spewed out some ridiculous explanation involving the dog feeling threatened by another person in the house. Bloody hell.
It seems to me that some people have preconceived notions of what a widow looks like. What her actions should be. That my life is their business. Maybe these people would lack the tact and sensitivity to know what is appropriate conversation in any situation and maybe I am feeling overly sensitive and presumptive but, dude, he could have been my brother or my boss. And even if he had been someone 'new in my life' it wouldn't have been any of her business....although I opened the door when I agreed to answer the personal question....I still find it funny....
A more funny incident happened when I went to the drugstore to fill Freckles prescription for antidepressants. While handing me the medication, the pharmacist laughingly explained to me that I shouldn't leave the medication where the dog can get it in case he's having suicidal thoughts. That it may leave him with a dry mouth or constipation. I asked the pharmacist if he often filled prescriptions for canines. He said that while they often did, he had never seen one for antidepressants for a dog. Laughing, he asked me what I did to the dog to make him so upset. I looked at him and said, "Well, first my husband died. Then my other dog died." I think I could have just left it with 'my husband died'. He looked at me with a completely straight stare and I could almost see him replay our conversation with horror. No smile. No hint of his previously expressed sense of humour. "Oh", he says, "You can pay at the front counter." I felt badly for his discomfort but wondered at the society we live in where it is 'wrong' to laugh when faced with hard times. That stoic faces and hushed speech are used when talking about those we have so loved and are now gone from us.
Both of these incidents have reminded me of people's prejudices and judgments regarding others. We all do this. Since Jeff's death, I have learned that these preconceived opinions hurt more than I knew before. But I also am realizing that Ellen Degeneres is so wise when she says, "Other people's opinions are none of my business." I am trying to live my life in a way that helps my kids get through these hard times, puts a smile on all of our faces and protects our future and not worry what anyone else believes is 'right'. I am learning to trust that I know what is 'right' for us. And this may not be right for anyone else.
Friday, November 21, 2008
- light switch at Marnie's (completely pulling it off of the wall bearing the wires).
- two door knobs (they still work but are dented and pocked).
- trim around the front door.
- drywall beside the front door.
- backyard gate (bent, chainlink removed, hole dug underneath)
- most surprising of all, one extra-large Varikennel. (He completely annihilated it in two hours and managed to escape free to reak havoc upon various household fixtures).
He is now on medication for anxiety (aka seperation anxiety) and has a new metal kennel. I have started filling his Kong (a type of dog toy) with peanut butter to attempt to keep him busy while we're out. I am attempting to minimize the cues that we are leaving.
It's is just odd. He has never been my favourite (only because he is not Eli and is very exuberant with his affection) but he has always been sweet to the kids, undestructive, and clean. After Jeff died, he started killing (although we only got chickens after Jeff was gone so this one isn't completely fair). After Eli died, he was fine for a month....and now this. He's lost it. I am angry.....but I feel a small amount of empathy for his acting out. If ingesting drywall would make me feel better, I would do it too.
I am so pleased with how they've turned out. In fact, Liv is so tickled because everyone seems to notice her new attire and compliment her on them....even her buddy, Kale.