Energies, Key Words, Courage, Life

Do any of you use mantras? Self-affirmations? Have any key words that keep you moving?

Ever since I lost Michael, people keep telling me how strong I am. It makes me cringe, actually. I’m not strong. I’m broken. The fact that I wake up every day has nothing to do with strength. It has to do with courage.

There was a time in my life when I told myself to stay strong. When what I strived to be was strong.  There have been many, many times in my life when I have been called upon to be the strong one.  And perhaps I was? But here’s the thing. Back to the broken plate analogy. Every time I broke, I came back a LITTLE more fractured. A LITTLE more weakened. But I always came through in big ways when I was needed. It was a big part of who I was. Strong. Reliable. Capable.

Now, what I strive to be is brave. Every day is a battle as I face a life I never wanted, a new life that isn’t comfortable for my spirit. New energies in the house with lots of puppies and people in transition. Lots of emotions and surprise breakdowns for me.

I’m confused about what I want. I’m confused about where I want it and who I want it with. Nothing needs to be decided today, but the new me comes with a new sense of urgency to make every day count and not waste one moment being more miserable than I need to be.

My health sucks. I don’t even want to go into it. My health insurance hasn’t been decoded yet because it makes my brain hurt. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

The puppies are delightful in every way. They’re a LOT of work. I miss Michael all the time, but I really miss the groove we had when we fostered. We never had to talk about it, we just went into worker bee mode when we had litters of puppies. We knew the system, did our parts, and it was seamless! And now all of a sudden, I don’t remember any of it. When did we feed puppies? How did we separate momma? The physical care part is second nature to me, but I cannot for the life of me remember how we’ve done this in the past, so I’m stumbling through the logistics a bit. Jeni came over and took the most beautiful photos of all of them! For now, I’ll just show you this one. ❤

Clover hat

And this ADORABLE picture of Josie ❤

Josie coy

The new litter is darling. However, right when they arrived, my original litter started breaking with snotty noses and wet coughs. Luckily it proved nothing serious, but I really couldn’t ensure that cross-contamination wouldn’t happen between the litters. With so many unvaccinated puppies here, I decided that the youngest litter needed to go to Jeni’s (my Operations Manager) for their safety. My puppies are still boogery, but they seem to be improving after a few days on antibiotics.

The tinies are beagle mixes and they are SOOOOO tiny! Their eyes are just opening. I feel a little like a failure because they had to move, but I keep telling myself it’s not because I don’t love them. I love them enough to move them. Their health comes first. But man, I wish I could have them here. ❤

Pudgies

The loose, flailing hose is still a really accurate description of my life. I’m working very hard at staying centered and grounded. I’m doing a PRETTY good job of it. If I could describe what an emotion LOOKS like, I visualize my grief/ my reality/ my LIFE as if I am standing at the ocean’s edge facing a wave that is rising in the distance. As it approaches, it becomes so huge and overwhelming that it terrifies me. I feel my feet dig deeper into the sand as it rises in front of me, preparing for it to envelop me and pull me back out into the ocean, pushing me deeper and deeper as it does. And for some reason, I don’t make any effort to escape it. I don’t turn and run to the shore. I brace myself as if I know this is something I must do. I know I might die. But I know I have to stand. The wave crashes over me hard. It takes me down and I feel like I’m gulping down massive amounts of water. I can’t make sense of up or down. I don’t know where the surface of the water is. I don’t see anything, I just let the water take me. But instinct kicks in and I swim. And somehow, I make it through that wave. It beat the shit out of me. I’m choking up water and gasping for air, treading water and just looking back at that wave in disbelief. I’m exhausted. Weak. Disoriented. But I was brave. I faced it. Woohoo! And as I turn, I see it. Another wave on the horizon.

And so it goes. Grieving what should have been but what will never be.  Missing a man I will never see again. Yes, I’m living. No, I’m not stuck. I just miss him and I’ll never be the strong woman I was.

Here’s to being brave another day. ❤

Peace,

Lisa

 

Aspiring

Greetings, friends 🙂

I haven’t written much. Been in a funk of epic proportions. Been going through some stuff at home, stuff with my health, stuff in my mind, stuff in my heart. Going through the motions, attending appointments, and adulting as best as I can. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But I’m considering every sun that sets a victory.

So, what can I update you on. I guess I’ll start with my health. Neuro appointment today. She doesn’t think it’s MS but won’t rule it out. My MRI shows significant degeneration in my mid spine. I also have a new diagnosis of carpal tunnel and a new diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy. Both are caused by the RA and both are painful and difficult to deal with. Basically, it feels like my nerves and my bones are collapsing little by little. My RA is unchanged. I’m still not on Xeljanz because of nightmare-y insurance issues. I’m trying to navigate new insurance that is provided by the State of MN or Hennepin County or something. I really don’t understand it all. It’s like reading a foreign language and I don’t know which way is up. This is a combination of widow’s fog and whatever neuro condition is happening. My short-term memory is fried and my cognitive skills are fried. Anyway, I have insurance but I don’t understand it, so it appears I’m the holdup with the correct drugs getting into my hands.

In life news: I lost my small claims suit, so MBB Construction essentially got away with ruining my floors, my life, and my bank account during a time when I was losing the love of my life. C’est la vie. I’ve let it go.

I’ve been doing lots and lots of serious thinking about my path, my life, my future, my truths, myself. This tsunami is far from over, and it’s been an immensely painful experience so far. But I can say this: I have an inner peace that is untouchable. I also have knowledge that I wish I didn’t have about relationships and people in my life, but they are still truths. I know SO MUCH truth. I live in truth, I speak the truth, and I am not afraid of any truth. Nothing can hurt me any more. You can’t break what’s already broken. This new truth and knowledge for me, represents pain and freedom all at once. And it all comes back to this. Words mean nothing. Actions speak everything.

When people SHOW you who they are or what they care about, believe them. 

There will be some significant changes in my life very soon. I’m reaching a crossroads and I’m getting signs from something bigger than myself. I had been ignoring those signs or reasoning them away, but I can no longer ignore them. The winds of change are swirling, and Michael is behind them. I hear him and I feel him. And I know I’m headed in the right direction.

Which brings me to the theme of my life right now. I found it as a meme, and loved it so much I wrote it on my mirror.

Aspire

I guess that’s the slow change I’m feeling. Aspiring. To anything. I used to just hope I’d make it through the day without killing myself. Now, I am looking at the life in front of me as though it may actually happen. It’s not a life I wanted, never a life I would have chosen. But it’s the life that’s been handed to me. I’m feeling some fight come back. I’m starting to care. I’m redefining what I want. And most of all, at the very front of my mind and my heart is my HUSBAND. Michael is HERE. With me. Guiding me, steering, gently nudging me towards some things and away from others. Towards some people and away from others. He’s become by conscience, my compass, my guiding star. And I KNOW that if nothing else, as of this very moment he is proud of me. I’ll keep living my life to make him proud until I find my own motivation. For now, that’s enough to keep me looking forward in his name.

I’ll make him proud. ❤

Peace.

~ Lisa

PS – here are the puppies of Michael’s litter! Seven puppies keeping things VERY busy at the casa:
Murphy
Ivy
Clover
Hannah
Aster
Emerson
Landon

seven

Josie, the puppy’s mom, is after Michael’s middle name Joseph. ❤

In Like a Lion. That is all.

Hi everyone ❤

Rambling post.

Puppies…we have one sick puppy. She started to “crash” a couple of days ago. I didn’t take any chances and took her to the vet. She is full of hookworms (these suck blood like a vampire and can, and do, kill puppies 😥 ) and has an upper respiratory infection. We’ve sent bloodwork out to test for more serious conditions, and that will come in mid-week next week. If it IS indeed a serious issue, we will know before that, though – because the other puppies will start crashing over the weekend, too. So it’s a lot of puppy watch right now. Other than this stressful sitch, the puppies have been WONDERFUL and SO GOOD for me.  This is my element.

Emerson
Please send healing vibes to Emerson <3. She’s pushing through some bad stuff. 

Stress: Besides being worried about my little family, omg the stress is overwhelming. Health insurance and prescriptions are killing me right now. In the past two days I have spent $1000 I literally don’t have on TWO medications. TWO. Medications. TWO. There’s a lot of confusion about my coverage, trying to get help from MN and Hennepin County, trying to figure out when that help starts and if I’m in limbo. It’s been seriously something that I feel requires someone knowledgeable with this shit to help me maneuver. You know, like my husband.

Physically, let’s not talk about that today. I’m in bad shape.

Emotionally, let’s not talk about that today. I’m in bad shape.

Financially, let’s talk about that today. I’m in bad shape. I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul and I see my credit score hitting the toilet. Damn you, Credit Karma, for your instant access to my declining credit scores. Damn you, universe, for fucking up my life. Fucking up my credit, my health, my happiness. Just, fuck you.

And since I’m in a mood – can we talk about grief words and terms that make me hostile? Can I educate you so that you know what trigger words NOT to use with your grieving friends? The worst part? Most of these are spoken by so-called grief experts.

The most hated words (so far) post-Michael:

  • Journey. Um, this isn’t a fucking journey. It’s torture. I’m not on a journey of grief. I’m not journeying through the pain. I’m enduring, existing, breathing. A journey indicates some sort of end result, some sort of adventure, some sort of pleasantry. Don’t call my process a journey. To do so is an insult to journeys and to the band Journey.
  • Blessed. What? Shut up. That’s all I’m saying about this.
  • “He Would Want (fill in the blank to whatever it is that makes you feel less shitty about me and makes you feel better so you don’t have to worry)”. You know what? You don’t know what he would want. I do. He would want me to stand in my truth and experience every feel I’m experiencing. Don’t tell a grieving spouse that their mate would want them to be happy. Would want them to smile. Would want them to live their lives. The man I loved and who loved me, would want me to be true to this process and feel whatever I need to feel, when I need to feel it.
  • “You’re not alone”. We’ve covered this in the past. Just, don’t.
  • “It’s not fair”. This makes me rage-y. Since when has life been fair? Who expected fair? How old are you that fair is in your vocabulary or expectation set?
  • Five Stages of Grief: STOP. It has been PROVEN that the stages of grief were written for the DYING, not the GRIEVING left behind. WHY do we keep referring to these stages, or trying to make something a griever is feeling fit into one of these stages? The stages are a LIE. They are for the dying. I can attest to that as I’ve been bedside with three dying humans in recent years. I can see the stages very clearly as they walk through them.  Grieving the love of your life does NOT follow a neat and tidy schedule of stages. It’s messy. It’s all over the place. It’s painful. It’s core-shaking. It’s dark. It’s hopeless. It’s manic. It’s depressed. It’s pathetic. It’s empowering. It’s lonely. It’s sad. It’s indescribable. It DOESN’T FIT INTO STAGES. STOP with the stages. Here is one of COUNTLESS articles stating the origins of the Five Stages, and here’s a QUOTE from ONE of MANY articles:

“But would you be surprised to learn that this theory was based on interviews with terminally ill patients, not with people who lost a loved one? That it originally described how people deal with their own impending deaths? That Kübler-Ross’s theory has never been validated by one single study?”

So, I suppose I’ve imparted enough sunshine on you for today. Thank you for reading if you are. I’m sorry this isn’t a zen, kumbaya post. It’s just another day in the life.

Peace,

~ Lisa

I’m surviving.

That seems to be the theme lately, as I trudge through the tasks that I don’t want to do or face days I don’t want to face.

Today in particular, I survived the one-year anniversary of my dad’s death, more ass-kicking and back-breaking snow removal, and small claims court.

The easiest of those three was court. The contractor didn’t show up, so I just presented my case. The judge asked lots of questions, and told me I’d receive the decision by mail. That’s the one thing that’s different than all the judge shows. You don’t get a verdict on the spot! I have NO idea how long it takes to receive the decision.

The amount of snow is hard to describe to those who aren’t here experiencing it. Walking through my front and back yards to use the roof rake, the snow was up to my butt. Not drifts. Just snowfall.

It’s hard to see, but the actual snow level is deeper than my elevated deck. There’s no place to shovel it it anymore.

It almost did me in mentally the other day. I just wanted to sell the damn house and leave this god forsaken tundra. But I came off the ledge and I know that I will also survive this.

And finally, one year ago today I lost my dad. It’s sad for lots of reasons, one of which is that is really brings Michael up for me. He was such a solid stabilizing force in my life a year ago when I needed him. I can’t believe all that’s happened. I can’t believe all I have survived.

In other news, as if we weren’t going through enough already, this week we welcomed a sweet foster dog and her seven brand new puppies. 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶For your viewing pleasure:

And for your ongoing productivity killer you can also see the babies on live puppycam here. Seriously, check it out. It’s pure and true and present.

Before you roll your eyes, let me remind you that if you’re rolling your eyes, you really don’t know me at all. This is my church. This is my therapy. It helps me and gives me purpose. Josie is an amazingly sweet dog and a great momma to her SEVEN adorable little puppies. Their eyes are just starting to open. It’s been just what I needed, when I needed it. My sister is super helpful and is up for the challenge so it’s been really good to have them here.

The roommate situation is still going well. My sister is facing some homesickness. Understandably so; she was in CO her whole life, oh and MN absolutely sucks right now. I’d be homesick too if I had a home or roots someplace.

In widow stuff, I’ve been going to therapy more (except this last week because of weather). I haven’t been doing a good job of taking time out each day to meditate or process anything. I recognize this and will make efforts to change it. I’ve joined a couple of online support groups and I’ll be trying an in-person support group soon. Nothing is easier at all. All the passing of time does is make you more used to the loneliness, hopelessness, and emptiness. I guess getting used to it could be called getting easier. Not by me, but by someone. I’m very easily overwhelmed lately and my panic attacks are increasing.

As I sign off, I leave you with true words spoken by speaker, writer, and widow Kelley Lynn. More insight into the life and the loss we face.

But, I’m surviving. One micro-moment to the next.

Peace,

~ Lisa

Polar VorSUCKS

Hello, faithful friends.

Last time I wrote, I shared with you the immense struggles I was having. It’s been a while since that last post; my brain and my thoughts and my life are going in circles.

Two Words: Polar Vortex. This cold hurts my joints and my body so, so much. The lack of sunshine, the homebound-ness of it, the depression that accompanies the harsh, extreme conditions; it’s just shit icing on the shit cake. I realize that for someone with my physical condition, living in the coldest fucking state in the country, um sometimes colder than MARS for fucks sake, is probably not the path to my personal happiness. But all in due time.

Snow
It’s hard to really get perspective, but there are several feet of snow. There’s a road there somewhere! 

Not much has changed and everything has changed all at once. My sister has arrived and that’s going very well so far. However, this also takes me further away from the life I loved with Michael and closer to a life that I no longer recognize as my own. I feel like a passenger on this planet, and that’s not a cool feeling to me. It’s not a feeling I’m comfortable with, or a feeling I want to settle in to. I don’t like feeling like I’m a victim to the circumstances around me, or that life is “happening” to me. My method is always to push through and gain control of my own situation. I’ve always landed on my feet. Not this time. Not yet.

The newness of roommate living hasn’t been hard for me, at least not yet.  Living with my daughter has been challenging for us both, and it’s brought a level of pain and drama to my life that is damaging to my healing and my process. I’m continually working on myself: working on my patience, my empathy, and choosing my battles. That’s all I can say about it right now.

When I really watch my thoughts and look inside, I find myself consumed with fear. I’m afraid to live without him. I’m afraid because I can’t afford to survive. I’m afraid of the physical pain I feel. I’m afraid of moving forward. I’m afraid of staying stuck. I’m afraid because I don’t know what I want or how I want to live, or with whom, or where, or what I want to do. I’m also afraid to move on and lose the connection, however slim, I have with Michael.

I try to say his name out loud as much as possible. Many, many times a day. I talk about him all the time. I don’t know if people are cool with that or not, but it’s how I choose to live. I choose to still love him with all of my being, and I choose to think that we still have a relationship; it’s just across planes of existence now rather than being a physically present relationship.

I’ve decided against inpatient treatment for now, anyway. I’ve increased my therapy sessions to twice per week. I’m actively seeking groups. A new friend who has a passion and a ton of knowledge about mental health issues turned me onto some resources. Another friend who works in mental health helped me choose a reputable facility if I DO decide to go inpatient. I’m getting better at protecting my process and making this journey through hell my priority. I know things will never look better or feel better if I don’t walk through it. And I’m going to protect my right and my need to process things in my way and in my time. Many people don’t understand that, and that’s okay. Not one person has said a word to me to make me feel pressured. They don’t say it, but I feel as though they expect me to be over the worst of it and in the same brain space I was before all of this happened.  Many treat me exactly the way they did before, not understanding that I might look and sound the same (well I don’t look the same – I look like hell all the time), but my brain and my personality are very different now and without realizing that I’m still very much in mental limbo, evolving and changing all the time.

Having my sister here has helped with some of the depression, as I’m not alone with my thoughts as much as I was before. It’s also helped tremendously in the physical department, as she’s so, so helpful at home. She shovels and I snow-blow. I could never do this alone. Physically I just am not able to function in the extreme cold we were having, and I seriously could NEVER have gotten through these 512 feet of snow (give or take) without her. She has two ADORABLE doggies and all of our dogs have integrated so nicely. We’re making meals and having dinners together. I’m able to take naps when I need them because I’m still not sleeping at night. We’re watching stupid movies and laughing until we cry. It’s been good medicine for us both. ❤

I’m working pretty consistently. Planning rescue runs, working marketing, fundraising, relationships, etc. I was supposed to get a foster dog this weekend, a pregnant momma dog <3! But, the weather postponed her transport. ☹ Hopefully, she will be arriving soon. This weather is just a bitch.  And it stinks because I was SO ready for little babies. Soon, I hope.

momma
My momma dog, hopefully arriving soon! 

Medical stuff: No change. Neurologist ordered an EEG (already done) and a thoracic MRI (scheduled today but um….WEATHER so I need to reschedule). Then she’ll have a direction to go with the neuro stuff. RA biologic meds are still not approved so no changes there, except that it’s been excruciating in the severe cold. Spinal stuff is all on hold because of the auto-immune stuff, so it’s just a cycle. Everything hurts. My kingdom for a refillable Rx of Vicodin!

So, that’s my update. One foot in front of the other, trying my best to take care of myself, trying to find joy, trying to ignore where I live this month, taking one moment at a time. I miss him. ❤

Peace,

~ Lisa

6 months; I wish I had known

Tomorrow will be 6 months since I lost my wonderful husband.

I REALLY don’t keep track of this stuff. I was talking to my dad’s wife. My dad died 5 months before Michael. We were talking and figured out it’s going to be a year next month that we lost my dad. I know I’m 5 months behind her, and I counted the months. It’s going to be 6 months, not 5. And for some reason that really upset me.

The more time passes it seems, the sadder I become. The sadness is completely overwhelming, and it’s getting worse. I miss him terribly, and maybe the more time passes, the further away he feels. I don’t know. I just know that the emptiness is too much for me to bear some days.

In talking to my dad’s wife, turns out she went through a really dark time right around the 6 month mark. Another widow my daughter knows went through the same things right around 6 months. What I’m talking about, is a complete and utter breakdown.

Yes, me. The past couple of weeks have been REALLY hard. REALLY hard. Impossible to describe really except to say that there is no relief from the underlying black sadness and despair I feel. I’m getting worse, not better. I can’t look at his photos without losing it. I can barely bring myself to remember him without overwhelming pain. I cry myself to sleep every night. I’ve been recording myself in my sleep to see if I have sleep apnea, and I have discovered that I frequently call out for him and sob in my sleep. I’m forgetful, slow, sad. Stuck.

So last week I reached out to my health care team and told them I was in trouble. I wanted to end my life. I was ready to go. I couldn’t find my purpose. I couldn’t escape my reality. Accepting reality is impossible for me to comprehend. And so, I just wanted to end it. My plan was ready to put into action.

I made my therapist and primary care doctor aware that I was suicidal. I saw each of them in person, and we all agreed that inpatient treatment might not be a bad idea. We also all agree that we all trust me right now, to take myself to the hospital if I’m feeling like I’m in trouble again. We all agree that this is one day at a time.

The past few days have been better. The GK party on Sunday was good for my soul. The setup was fun, and the volunteers always remind me of the good work we do and how blessed I am to have this rescue and these people in my life. We’re rescuing more than 15 dogs this week. We have new foster parents. I got through the worst suicidal feelings I’ve ever had, and I kept my head together enough to seek help. I’m pretty proud of that.

The world was looking a bit brighter and then…I realized it’s 6 months. I don’t know why this upsets me but it does.

In talking to my dad’s wife and learning that she, too, went through this, really helped me and convinced me that I need group support. Not a single person can understand this unless they’ve experienced it. I gain so much comfort and strength talking to other people who have been through it. I am trying to find more bloggers who write on the topic. Today’s neat article find is this one. If I can’t find an in-person group that suits my needs, I may try to create one. Lots of good tidbits in this article, and the one I love the most:

“For months after my husband died, I didn’t want to leave my house. I felt like the whole world was watching me. It’s as if what happened to you is what everyone else is afraid of, so they just stare and pray they won’t become you one day.”

Still waiting on news about my health insurance which is a fricking nightmare and so so stressful. My sister will be arriving next week. And the last stressor I haven’t shared with you guys yet; I decided to take the first contractor that did my floors to small claims court. He just received his summons today, so I’m waiting to see if there’s any backlash. Court is Feb 22 if anyone wants to come and support me!

In other news, this cold is awful for everyone but especially for a newly diagnosed RA patient who hasn’t started receiving the big gun drugs yet, it’s more than awful. I’m just staying inside for the a couple of days. Thursday I need to go rescue some dogs, so I’ll bundle up hard for that.

So, for now…I guess for always…one day at a time. But especially now. I’m making it through, I’m in tune with my state of mind, and I’m not afraid to get help or check myself in if I need to.

I told you in the beginning that this blog was an experiment. I didn’t know what I would write or do with it. I wasn’t sure how open I would be, but I decided if I was going to hide things I shouldn’t blog. I really hope this post doesn’t make me regret that. I don’t think many are actively reading the blog, but if you are – I’m not suicidal so I don’t want or need anyone to be alarmed. I’m just being honest. This shit is hard and I wish I had known from those who walked before me! It’s not okay that people who are going through this feel they have to hide it. We’re better than this. Aren’t we?

I wasn’t going to talk about this because I worried that the gossip train would start rolling, or that my volunteers may lose faith in me, etc. And then I decided I’m going to talk about it. Because people NOT talking about it is the reason that there’s this whole fucking stigma about mental health. It’s NOTHING to be ashamed of. You would treat a broken arm or an internal illness, why wouldn’t you get treatment for psychiatric issues? And why aren’t more widows talking about this? If this makes people lose faith in me, then they don’t know me at all. At all. I have survived and walked through literal hell on this earth. I’m waking up every day and choosing to walk through a fresh new unknown hell. I’ve gone through more than most people can begin to imagine. And I’m still alive. I am actively involved in the rescue, and this week we are saving more than 15 dogs.

Life goes on. Even when we may not want it to. One moment at a time. ❤

Peace,

~ Lisa

Hungover

Subtitle: It’s not what you think.

It’s been a long and hard week at the casa. I saw a neurologist, my regular doc, had a sleep-deprived EEG so I went almost 40 hours with no sleep, saw my grief therapist, the polar freeze is just absolutely unbearable on my swollen joints, some painful relationship stuff with my daughter, and last night I just has a breakdown of epic proportions. The biggest one I think I’ve ever had. I just absolutely lost control, could not calm myself down, and had to reach out to a safety-net person to talk me off the ledge – or rather, to listen to me without trying to fix anything, until I talked myself down. I passed out from pure exhaustion before 8pm and slept for 11 hours. Woke up today in a fog. Head throbbing, nausea, swollen eyes. I feel like I’m hungover.

Let me back up. I’ll start with the neurologist. I like her very much. She has a great bedside manner and she is very attentive. She isn’t willing to say I have MS and she isn’t willing to say I don’t. She ordered a sleep-deprived EEG and an MRI of my thoracic spine. That’s the only thing they haven’t imaged yet. Ugh. She said my symptoms could also possibly relate to something damaged in my mid-spine or a number of other auto-immune conditions, not just MS. The MRI isn’t until mid-February, but I already had the EEG done. The results of that combined with my soon-to-come MRI will dictate next steps. In the meantime, I’m still putting any spinal fusion on hold until we can figure this out.

Therapist: She’s providing me with some really useful tools for working through the moments that feel unbearable, how to get myself unstuck if I feel stuck. We talked about cumulative grief and secondary grief. And then, there’s also complicated grief which seems to be more about the DEPTH of your sorrow and your ability to manage it.

  • Cumulative grief is experienced when someone experiences multiple losses. especially in a short period of time.
  • Secondary grief relates directly to the loss of the person who passed away; but it’s grief for the LIFE you had, not the person himself. It’s grieving the loss of a partner, the loss of someone to plan things with, the loss of your lifestyle, the loss of your memories and inside jokes, the loss of your identity, the loss of your faith, in my case the loss of my health…I think you get the picture.
  • Complicated grief is basically grief x 10. It’s more about the griever’s process and how it affects them.

We discussed my very newfound extreme sensitivity to anything Michael-related and my uncontrollable sadness. I’m having a hard time even seeing his photos right now. And then she said something that hit me like a 2×4. She told me to brace myself, because I haven’t even begun to grieve Michael.

Huh? Are you fucking kidding me, lady? That’s all I do. ALL. I. DO. And then she reminded me, nope. I was supposed to take 2 months leave, but I was working/ connected the entire time. I moved my daughter in amidst a lot of drama. I learned I have a painful disease that’s impacting my quality of life dramatically. I also learned my spine is a hot mess and I need surgery. I dealt with floormageddon. I pulled off standing in front of 130 people at a Gala 2 months after I lost him. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff but again, I think you get the picture.

She talked and I believed her. I think the real pain is yet to come. When I came home and looked up complicated grief (the article linked above), the description fits me to a tee. And while I KNOW it’s still fresh and I KNOW this process will take a lifetime,  and I’m not looking for or desiring shortcuts,  I also know I feel stuck/ like I’m moving backwards. This is literally the hardest, most painful experience I could ever imagine. There’s no textbook. There’s no escaping that the core of your being is just gone. There are no instruction books for starting your life all over again, against your wishes.

My loneliness is pretty intense. My sister will be arriving soon and that will help a lot. Nights alone are dangerous for me sometimes. I let my mind go to really dark places and have nothing to distract me from it all. I’m not really comfortable going out in this cold – it REALLY fucking hurts. I’m also super stressed about my health insurance. Long story but it’s very stressful. I’m headed towards some trouble if I don’t find some solutions soon.  But the flip side is, I AM trying to find those solutions. I haven’t given up.

In happy news, I’m looking forward to Sunday. It’s our annual GK holiday party and I have some super fun stuff planned for the volunteers. It will be a double-edged sword: I’m really looking forward to it because I love love love my volunteers, but I’m anxious because I KNOW it will call so many memories to mind. Last year, we held our holiday party in our new office space that was still under construction. We surprised our volunteers that this would be our new home, and Michael was SO proud. When he got diagnosed, he said he was going to beat this because he couldn’t wait to see what Good Karma was going to accomplish. Last year was a huge celebratory time in our lives. If only we’d known. 😥 But I will do my best to face the day and enjoy the company of these wonderful people, and be grateful to be surrounded by my tribe for a short period of time.

So, the recent mantra: “I will get through this.” I no longer say I’m okay, or I’ll be okay. Because NOTHING is okay. But I WILL get through this. Even if I can’t take a step, I will hold my ground and stand on both feet. Most of the time. ❤