I haven't written a post in over 10 weeks. It's probably the longest I've gone since writing but life has been happening and at this time, I'm just trying to hang on. As I sit here alone, sick with the flu I can't help but think it's the perfect way to end 2017. 2017 was a shitty year. It was probably one of the worst in a long time. Many tragic things have happened but in it all I want to reflect on the growth of myself. So here is my reflection (as I sing Pocahontas) of the year and my hopes for 2018.
A short recap of the good bad and ugly. Let's start with the ugly. I had a miscarriage, I went through it a lone. It was horrible. All the feelings from losing Ty and Jacob came back and I was left to struggle on my own. It was an earlier loss, I did not find out the gender of the baby. I broke down crying in the middle of the grocery store because I forgot how overwhelming grief can be. But I grew from that experience. I did not fall like I had in the past. I allowed myself the time to grieve and grew from my situation. I learned that I was capable to handle it, to not let myself go down a deep dark hole. I learned that it's okay to feel sad and let your emotions out. I learned that I was able to let my emotions out and not be overwhelmed by them like I had in the past. Many years of intensive counseling has brought me to a very good point in life. Bad things will happen, there is no doubt, that's just life but every bad situation has good in it somewhere. It may be hard to see, but it is there. For me, it was seeing that I wouldn't fall back as deep as I had in the past and that I was capable and more than able to handle the situation and process it in a healthy manner.
Milo died. My heart was shattered into a million pieces the day I came home to find out Milo had died. He was with me for 12 years, always by my side as I went through the struggles of life. Always there to comfort me. This Spring/Summer I made the decision to let him sit outside. He couldn't jump or run so there was no issue with him being able to get away, He spent all summer outside in his happy place. He was such a different kitty out there, just enjoying life, sleeping in the sun, getting some fresh air. Then he died. There was no growth for me in regards to Milo dying. I'm still heart broken but I'm getting on. This is the only situation where I can see no good in it. I may one day, but I haven't reached that point yet.
I found out my was then husband was having another affair. He is now my ex, I am now a single mom. Shocker right? Not really, I unfortunately saw this coming. I did everything I could to try and stop it to try and fix things but I've learned you can only do so much. You can only change you. A relationship takes two people and if one is not committed it doesn't matter what is done. There were also other significant issues regarding this but at this time, I'm trying to keep things private. Maybe one day I will find my backbone to speak out about certain things that happened but right now, I'm too busy focusing on the good. I don't even know where to begin with the positive of this situation. My life has been changed drastically again but in this, in this situation, there is so much good.
I now work full time at a job I actually do enjoy. I work with some really nice ladies. I didn't envision going back to work full time but becoming a single mom, I was and still am determined to set a good example for my daughter. To work and be able to support her and I on my own. The office atmosphere I work in is probably one of the best I ever have. I will never make a million dollars working where I do but I know I do make a difference and that is priceless. I always wanted to work for a non-profit and lately I've had the desire to work with seniors (after watching my grandma go through everything she has) so this job kind of is really what I wanted. It has not only provided me with an income to support Bee and I but it has given me so much of myself back. I've learned that I am far more capable of doing things than I thought I was. I've learned to admit mistakes and ask for help to fix them. I've learned that I have a creative mind that can help solve issues that haven't been thought of before. Having a purpose, having a need and being able to fill it is amazing. Even talking to other adults has been a huge step for me. It's nice, I find that with this part of me coming back, the working part, I have so much motivation to go back to some of the things I use to enjoy.
In my job, I also have to face some of my fears. I despise public speaking, I do not like small talk but a part of my job kind of requires both. Teaching seniors exercises is pushing a lot of my comfort zone, but I don't mind. I know in time I will get use to it and it will be a thing of the past. It challenges me to push myself, to face my fears and overcome them. I am thankful for that, as uncomfortable as it is sometimes.
Working full time has also made me eat better...for the most part, minus the entire month of December. I wanted to allow myself the time to indulge and enjoy comforting foods. But working, I can't just snack on whatever is around so I've been able to pack really healthy and nutritious food to eat throughout the day and really beware of the things I am consuming. I think, in part because of this eating healthy, I've also found I have a lot more energy. When I give my body what is needs through nutrition, it allows me to function better. Who would have though.t.....
I started watching hockey again. Hockey use to be such a huge part of my life and it faded over the last few years but it's coming back, so much so that I'm getting out the skates and as soon as I find a team, I'm getting back out on the ice and playing again. I'm probably the worst Canadian when it comes to playing hockey, but I love it so much. The passion has been lit again.
Camping, hiking, being outdoors. My love had faded over the years but this Fall and Winter, I've found it again. Actually, my passion hadn't faded as much as I had no energy to do anything. I've always been passionate about being outside. I am often out going for walks and hikes with Bee. This year I'm even getting a annual pass to the provincial parks so we can get out even more and do some camping.
Baking and cooking has also been making it's way back into my life. Again, it had more to do with the lack of energy but now that I seem to not be as tired as I once was, I enjoy doing these things again. I created a bunch of trays this year to give out to people for Christmas and I loved doing it. I may have also enjoyed eating a bunch of things to but my new years goals will hopefully help take care of that.
Being forced into a single mom life does pose it's challenges no doubt but there is so much room for growth. Even how I view myself now, to know I am worth so much more than I was told before, it keeps me going. It's another situation in which I could simply choose to give up but I won't. I never do. I use the bad in life and make it work for me. I find the good and go on that.
I've always wanted to foster cats and now I can. We also adopted another kitten. Even though I said I'd never adopt another kitten, even though I said I'd never adopt another ginger cat and even though I said I'd never adopt a cat with special needs, Cooper made his way into my heart pretty quickly (that's him above with his funky eye). Once he settles, I will begin the process for fostering cats and kittens. I've always had the passion to do so and now I am able to. I may even foster dogs at some point. I know the need is there and we have the home to do so.
Speaking of home, 2018 will also see Bee and I moving. We will be getting our "own" place. I say "own" because after speaking with my parents, we've decided to buy a house with them and move in together. It will be a raised ranch so we can split the two levels into two completely self contained apartments. As much as I love my parents, Bee and I also need our own space and privacy. But having my parents right there will be a huge help for me. When she is sick, I won't have to miss work, if I want to schedule a hair appointment, she won't have to come with me. But it's more than just them being able to watch her and help me out as a single mom. Through them she can see love, she can see a healthy relationship and love and what family really means. My parents are amazing, they are the best. Without them I would not be where I am and not able to go where I'm going. I am thankful they are able to help Bee and I transition into the next part of our life. I am nervous, as every new step will be, but to know I have such great support makes it a bit easier. I try to overcome the fear by going on Pinterest and getting a bunch of new ideas about how to decorate our new home. Or recipes.....
Speaking of recipes, 2018 will also bring a change to me. For the first time in a very long time, I want to focus on me. It may sound a bit strange, but I find I have more time for me now that I am a single mom or maybe because I care to take care of myself I am making the time. I've started seeing a chiropractor again and acupuncture. I have a massage once a month. In the new year I will be changing how I eat even more. I want to take care of my body and get it into a healthy state because, 2018 will bring stress and it could become very heavy, so I want to make sure I am taking care of myself as best I can to help alleviate some of the physical side effects of stress. I want to take care of my teeth, find a really good dentist who can help fix all my teeth problems. It's time I took care of me so I can be the best version of myself for Bee.
I have high hopes that my book will be picked up by a publisher and get published. I have heard back from 6 of the 10 (all were no's) but the last 4 are the ones I'm thinking would more likely be yes. I sit anxiously awaiting to hear if any of the 4 will pick it up.
Self discovery will also be a big one for me. With everything I have gone through in the last 8 years, I really want to find me. I want to explore my likes and dislikes, I want to find things I am passionate about and really dive into them. It'll be vastly different now because it's just Bee and I, but in a sense it will also be easier. Whether it be old likes, such as hockey and hiking or new likes such as essential oils and lots more DIY"s for household goods. History has always fascinated me too so maybe I'll consider joining the local historian society.
I know 2018 will also face some tough challenges, there will be lots of stressful moments, but in it, I hope to grow. I hope Bee and I are able to transition smoothly to our new life. I am hope my parents and I are able to find a house that will fit out needs. I hope I continue to give myself the time and space I need for me. I hope Cooper's eye doesn't turn him into a money pit (cough cough...Hank) I hope I find happiness in the small things in life. I hope that once life settles a bit, my eyes are opened even more to the joys of life. I hope my book gets picked up and published. I hope I am able to stay strong and motivated through the challenging times. I hope I continue to see the positives through the negatives and always come out a better person. I hope I am able to start fostering cats. I hope Bee and I continue to build a strong relationship. I hope I am able to provide a stable loving home for Bee as we transition into our new life. I hope she knows I am her comfort, her rock, her safe.
As I say goodbye to 2017, a year that threw me many curveballs, I am thankful that I have the capacity to handle just about anything and continue to find the good in the bad. I have grown tremendously this past year and 2018 can only see that growth continue as many more changes take place. I am thankful for the family and friends I have supporting me through it all. The counselors who over the years have helped me out of the dark and continue to foster my growth, to Bee for always being by my side and making me see things through a different light. Life will always have bad things in it, that you can't avoid, but if I've learned one thing in 2017 it's that you can take that bad and make it work for you. You can search and find the good in every bad situation and going into 2018 that's kind of my motto. Take the bad and find the good. As exhausting and hard as it can be, it's there, search, dig deep, rediscover who you are, rediscover life, learn new things, travel to places you haven;t been, meet new people, always be kind, always offer help, never give up (and I speak from many experiences in which it would have been easy to give up) you can;t hide from the bad but you can learn how to make it work for you. It will take time, but trust me, it can happen. I look forward to writing about my journey in the next chapter of life, which I am calling "Bereaved, now single mom, grows beyond what she ever thought was possible, watch out world". Life likes to challenge me in ways no one could imagine but I continue to see it's crap and say bring it, I will find the good in every situation (and if I can go through losing 3 children and a separation/divorce, you can do it too!)
With the release of the book coming out (hopefully) next Spring, I will be going through the page to clean it up a bit. The blog may be temporarily unavailable due to editing some posts, as well, some pictures and videos will be removed just to make it more clean and well read. When the book comes out, I want this page to be about support, not just life after death but a resource page and someplace that people know about and refer to people to so I need to do some leg work on it. That being said, I'm still here, working quietly away. You can still contact me with any questions and I look forward to getting back at it soon. Oh the things I have to write about, you just wait! My new mantra is "Life go ahead, throw me those curve balls because I am a home run expert, I can hit them out of the park".
Grief can be so many things and mean so many things to everyone. Grief for me means having a really bad day but getting up the next day and getting back out there.
Grief means as hard as it is, as hard as I struggle I still get up and live. I still make sure everyone is fed, laundry and dishes are washed, floors are cleaned, pre-made meals are made, errands are run, bills are paid.
Grief means sucking it up most days. As tired or sore as I am, I push it to the side and live. If I have a headache, I take meds and go out and about. If I ache, I still move. If I'm tired, I still move. If my stomach is upset, I have a ginger drop. I still function.
Grief means to me being a parent regardless. My daughter is, always has and always will be my number one priority, she comes before anything else, including any struggles.
Grief means watching Fuller House and laughing my ass off.
Grief means getting out in nature, reconnecting with mother nature and exploring the world with Bee. She is curious us about the leaves, the birds, the turtles, the frogs, the snakes, the slugs, the water, the boardwalk. She stops to inquire and I love teaching her. To watch her learn and grow is amazing.
Grief means being resilient. It means being strong, showing strength those can not imagine.
Grief means never giving up. It means finding motivation in the pain.
Grief means admitting my weaknesses and working on them.
Grief means recognizing my strengths and celebrating them, using them to help me work on my weaknesses.
Grief means realizing I don't actually have bad memory, I'm really good at remembering things. I've seen it at work, I've seen it at home. Being organized really helps. Having a calendar really helps. Believing in myself really helps.
Grief means recognizing that I have an amazing support of people in my life, family and friends. I am blessed beyond measures to know Bee is loved by so many as am I. These people who would drop everything to help us out. People who have been by my side for between 6 and 33 years.
I've come to realize that, even though I struggle some days, even though some days seem hard my mental illness has NEVER stopped me and it never will. It actually motivates me to strive to do better, to go to counseling to learn how I can be the best version of myself and the best parent to Bee. I'm always learning how to help Bee, to be the best parent and help her grow the best she can. I want to give her the world, to show her the real world. To show her that some days can be hard, some days can be painful but in those moments, through the pain, find the motivation and positivity. Always strive to be the best version of you and to be kind to everyone. I know too that her life is different than most of her friends. She lives a life that has seen a lot of death. Teaching her the beauty of death is important. I know she may struggle, learning how I can help her through the best I can is important. I want her to see the strength in asking for help, for seeking counseling when you can't deal with life issues on your own. To let her know she doesn't have to suffer in silence, I will be there for her cheering her on, be her listening ear, her comforting arms, guiding her along the way with unconditional love. My mental illness has NEVER stopped me from being the best parent I can be and it never will. I know that. I will always provide for my daughter. It is my motivation.
I've also realized that I am not my mental illness Yes somedays the physical side effects hurt but it doesn't stop me. It will not run my life, I run my life. The last few months have been a huge growth for me. Going back to work has opened up a whole new me (I even want a full time job now) being back at work, getting organized has been healthy. Starting to work out, to take care of myself has been wonderful (as much as I dread the gym some days, but then, does anyone really like the gym?) I've got crap organized, I have the energy to finish projects around the house, to cook, actually cook real food.
I may have a mental illness but I've come to see that it has never stopped me, only I have stopped me. Now that I know that, the world better watch out.
This, this is grief. It is messy, it is chaotic, it is ugly, it is dark. It means being late to every event and forgetting just about everything. It means dropping and breaking things because you become clumsy. It means forgetting everything (see I repeated myself because I forgot).
Grief means staying awake all night because you are so heartbroken you can't sleep. It means at 1am you find a website that you can send a picture of your cat to someone in China and they will make a stuffed replica for $200. Grief is filling out that form. Grief is falling asleep for 5 minutes before hitting send and not instantly regretting it.
Grief means sending 10 people a message about getting a custom photo of your cat made and when you start hearing back, you think you somehow accidentally ordered from all ten people. It takes you awhile to realize they were just messages and not purchases.
Grief is paying someone $100 to embroider your cats face onto a hoop so you can hang it on the wall.
Grief means shaving your cat to save some of his fur to bead a little key chain for yourself made with his fur.
Grief is giving your dead cat rainbow paws so you can get his paw prints and then trying to explain to the vet that he didn't step in unicorn poop it was just ink for pawprints.
Grief is spending a few hours picking out an urn (or casket) and knowing that it can never be perfect for the one you have to say good bye to.
Grief is knowing that it is about saying goodbye, it is the finality of life. There will be no, see you next times.
Grief means lounging around in comfortable clothes, sweat pants, fuzzy socks, long shirts and snuggling up under the warmest and softest blanket you can find.
Grief means walking then just laying down on the floor starting to sob.
Grief means crying headaches.
Grief means crying so hard your whole body aches.
Grief means laying on the couch for hours watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Grief means eating food you'd never eat unless you felt this horrible. It means eating that food for days because you've discovered your grief food.
Grief is not eating because you don't have an appetite or the strength to make anything.
Grief means when you do feel hungry, you grab the first most convenient thing. It means fast food restaurants become your favourite place because you don't have to get out of your car and face people. You can wear sunglasses and only need to talk to at the most, two people.
Grief means ordering groceries online, something you swore you'd never do, but grief.
Grief means not knowing what time of day it is, what day it is what month it is or pretty much not knowing anything that relates to life.
Grief means not being able to sit and read because 1. you can't sit still and 2. the thought of sitting to read hurts to much because every night you sat to read you had a special lap buddy and without him here, reading won't be the same.
Grief means counting the hours until you get his little body back so you can plan his memorial. It means thinking of things that would honor him, things he may have liked. Knowing where to spread his ashes and thinking of where to put his urn at home.
Grief means swearing you hear him meowing. Knowing it is not one of your other cats as his meow was very distinct. Grief means immediately crying at the sound because you realize you won't hear it again. It is forever gone. Grief means moments like this make you realize how finale death is.
Grief means there can be chaos, thing won't get done for awhile at the same time, grief also means being incredibly restless day and night and having the need to have everything in its place. You need some things to be in order when you are crumbling inside.
Grief means being up all hours of the night googling the cause of death, reading stories, trying to find answers and grasp the situation at hand.
Grief means you can't carry on as normal. It means you need to take time away. Your body will no cooperate during you normal workout, it is simply to tired and depressed.
Grief means "watching" tv when all you are really doing is staring, staring into space. The deep dark space of depression. You are so disconnected from the world. Nothing feels real.
Grief means spending hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and not remembering a thing you saw.
Grief means doing things you normally wouldn't do because who cares anymore.
Grief means feeling the need to run away from everything so copious amounts of time are spent outside walking in all kinds of weather. It means that when it rains, it feel so fitting that you just stand outside in the rain as it drenches you to the soul, washing away your tears.
Grief means walking around all day looking for the person/pet who died. Thinking you'll see them any moment. Thinking that you keep catching them out of the corner of your eye.
Grief is every second spent on wondering what happened, could I have done anything.
Grief is looking for signs. One week before Milo died I found him in the corner of the closet sitting on the scale with a funny look on his face. The night after Milo died, there was a glow from that corner of the closet and early morning I started to hear beeping. The scale was on. It needed batteries but was it coincidence or a sign? It also means seeing two blue jays the next morning (they remind me of Ty and Jacob) and straining to find a third, maybe it would mean Milo is with them. Signs.
Grief means at 3pm, you put on normal clothes, sunglasses and your normal face to walk out into the world to pick your daughter up, making sure to time it exactly so you get there the minute the bell rings and you don't have to socialize.
Grief means hoping that the owner of the pet store who knows you and your kitties is not there, praying she is not there because you know she will ask how everyone is doing. It means seeing her in the parking lot talking to a customer so you run in as quickly as possible, scoop up everything you need and rush to pay to get back in your car before she comes in. It means her still catching you in the parking lot and when she asks how the old man is doing with his food, you immediately lose it and start to sob, full on sobs. It means her understanding because she is a pet owner herself and just grabbing you and giving you a huge long hug. It means realizing you needed that hug more than anything in that moment.
Grief means your best friend sends you a text asking if you want her to come over but you forget to respond with no I'm okay and she shows up at your door the next day with a hug. It's knowing that hug means more than anything and it means your bestfriend truly knows you. Knowing I would say no but also knowing it's what I needed.
Grief means knowing people will not understand. People will say stupid shit to try and comfort you when in fact it makes you feel worse. Grief means knowing that it still matters. There is a lot of hurt in the world right now but that doesn't mean your own hurt does not count. It does not mean just because there is mass destruction in so and so and you should be thankful about this or that, that your pain is not valid. It does not mean you aren't thankful.
In grief I don't know what I want. I mean what I truly want is to not know this pain, to have Ty, Jacob and Milo all here with me now. But that is not the life I have. I want comfort, I want warmth, I want the ability to cry when ever I need to. I want something to hold in my empty aching arms. I want this pain of grief to go away.
I would not know grief and sadness without love. Love can hurt but it is the most powerful feeling in the world to know love. As much as it hurts when that love is gone, the love will carry on.
Death encompasses me. It surrounds me. Death is me, I am death. The grief is deep, it hurts. It runs through every vein, every bone, every muscle in my body. The pain is suffocating, it is debilitating.
I've never known a home without him. This doesn't feel like home anymore, not without him here. 12 years with this beautiful soul by my side. He was with me through University, various boyfriends, can't even count the amount of times we moved, he never left me after Ty and Jacob died, he comforted me, he knew me. His love was unconditional. He spent this summer doing something he's never been done before, he went outside. He ran through the grass, sat in the wood chips and spent many hours laying in the sun. I am thankful we decided to let him do so. He was a different cat out there. It was like he was finally home. Even moving into this house, it was like he knew it was his last home. He settled in so well and owned it like it was his. Perhaps there were small signs the last few months but it was hard to tell due to his chronic health issues. He thoroughly enjoyed his scoop of peanut butter last week, some nights cuddling and some evenings in my lap. I would give anything to have a few more, to have known, it hurts so much, the pain is so deep and at such an already fragile time of year. It still seems so surreal, like death always does. I keep thinking he will walk out from the couch at any moment, meowing to be let outside whether it be during a thunderstorm or 1am. But it is not so and that will be hard to get use to. This place, it no longer seems like a home without him, I do not know a home without him and his love. My sweet Milo. I love you more than words can say, you were a special cat, everyone knew it and my love for you was so strong that your death hurts me to the core. I simply do not know how I am suppose to live without you. How am I suppose to carry on through tragedy without my snuggle buddy by my side? How is life fair to keep taking those I love.
Death, it can be brutal and messy, it can be sudden and unexpected. It can peal away layer upon layer until you hit your core. It can unravel you, it can uproot you, it can make you feel non existent. It can take your breath away, make tears pour from your eyes for days. It can feel heavy on your chest. It can make you stay awake all night holding a loved one, talking to them and petting them (or sitting with them) because you know it is the last time you will have the chance. Death has come knocking and this time it wasn't a little white casket but a basket from the basement with a blanket and a towel. There will be no burial, but an urn placed in our home to remind us of the amazing, deep love we lost. This house is not the same nor will it ever be again. A house that seems to be filled with tragedy. So many hardships in this house. Death keeps knocking and all I want to do is run away.
My face is in pain, my stomach in knots. I have no appetite and when I do eat, it's not healthy food. I want comfort, I want warmth. I need to sit and binge watch Buffy for a few days while I process this deep and profound loss to me. It is different than losing a child yes but the pain sits on the same level. 12 years I had with this beautiful soul, 12 wonderful and loving years. I wished for many more but perhaps he knew it was his time. I grasp to understand, I grasp to not feel guilty but it is holding onto me, it has be tied to a tree. I wish there was more time, I wish we had known it was coming. I wish we could have prepared but I know as well as any, death, no matter how much you prepare for it, still kills you. It still takes another peg off life. Perhaps had it happened in a different way, that peg wouldn't knock you down as far but it does. That's life. That's life with death and it seems to follow me.
Sleep evades me, the care to do anything is gone. Grief, I forgot how fucked up it can be, how hard it makes it to live and breathe. I forgot how hard it is to do anything when your body is so sore from death and from crying for hours. Every muscle aches, your throat is on fire, your head feels like it will explode but you can't stop the tears. All you can smell is death, it hurts, all you can feel the a cold lifeless body. You do what you can to make memories, to make it hurt less but you know it's still going to gut you. No amount of pictures, molds, hair, anything can make it hurt any less. There will never be the same you as you once were. No one can replace the beautiful soul of life that you were. Pet or person.
Tonight I go to sleep, or try to, without my first true love, my first baby. The cat who made me grow into a responsible young women because I was now in charge of a little, very dependent little life. He was sick his whole life but I was never going to give up on him no matter how much it cost. His love was powerful and soothing to the soul. He knew when I needed him, he didn't mind when I smothered him with a zillion kisses. He wasn't just a cat, he was far more. Grief knows no labels, it hits everyone hard. Last night I laid awake all night, petting him, talking about when I first found him in the cardboard box on the side of the road that said free kittens. We were told many people stopped by but no one wanted him. Those people don't know how thankful I am they passed up the chance. He was cross eyed, covered in fleas, had trouble walking and the curliest of tails. But he was mine and I was his. I talked about our life, the various guys I dated, the places we lived, remembering some of his favourite toys and treats (peanut butter) he was gone but I am not and talking about those memories allows me to live on. He taught me to never give up on someone you love, to keep fighting for what you think is right. He taught me to speak up for someone you love. He taught me that free cats are not really "free" but he was worth every penny I spent on him.
Re-emerging in life will take time. It's hard to grasp the magnitude of the grief. It just seems like he is somewhere sleeping and will be out any minute to get some food but reality this hard when I take out two bowls for wet food as opposed to three. It's seeing two cats instead of three. It's not hearing him meow to get outside every morning, to wake up and see his beautiful face ready to greet the day. The shock is hanging, as it does with grief. It can take weeks or months to connect with the event, the shock protects you in the meantime. It doesn't feel real, you can't grasp reality. It sucks the life out of you. You feel half gone, like you are floating in between life and death. You are numb, there are no emotions to feel expect sadness. Worry, fear, anxiety all lessen as does any joy or hope or happiness that was there. It is replaced with nothing. A neutral state in grief. This is life now. This time of year between Jacob and Ty's birthday has never been easy and now it has taken a step into making it worse. Fall, fucking Fall and death. I get it Fall, your leave die and fall to the ground but for fucking sake, stop making everything die and be buried in the ground.
Rolling along in life, feeling pretty confident you finally have some of your shit together and then WHAM, that little bastard grief sneaks up on you and hits you like a ton of bricks. It's no surprise, it's that time of year between Jacobs death and Tys death in which I am an emotional ball of sobbing buckets. In all fairness, I give myself some credit because this year it only hit recently, I made it all the way to September 10th without falling apart. In the past it would have started mid-August so that's a silver lining. However, I forgot how hard grief can hit and how heavy the sadness can be. I forgot how heavy the sadness is to carry. It's been 6 and 7 years, those numbers still seem so fresh. All the memories seem so fresh. The weather, the weather I love so much just brings me back to those days.
Walking, it was my solitude after Ty died. I walked so many miles (or kilometers) I just use to walk. The warm sun, the cool autumn breeze, the weather of now. I still love it but it's a hard and heavy feeling. On Bees first day of school I cried, not as much as I thought I would but I took the day and did what I needed to, allowing myself to cry when I felt like it. It was nice. I struggled seeing all the moms there with their pregnant bellies, all I could think was, that should be me. Bee should be the excited older sister that her new sibling would be born soon instead of talking about all her dead siblings. Like fuck, seriously, how in the world can this be my life? My poor girl who just wants a sibling and can't seem to get one. And of course everyone else and their sister is getting pregnant and it's so hard to read all the happy announcements when I am wallowing in grief over here, not understanding why it is so damn hard for my body to just have one more living, healthy child.
Add on life lately has been a shit show of everything. Brief summary, we got pregnant, I had a miscarriage, relationship issues came up that forced me to realize I needed to be able to support Bee and I and also take care of myself. I'll stop there for a moment because that issues in itself, I think is proving to actually be beneficial and I'll tell you why. I work, I got a job, something that wasn't even on my mind a few months ago, but getting a job and working has allowed me to see old parts of me and discover new My memory is a gong show so I have to learn to work with that, but I see strengths in my work and it's nice to be around other adults talking about something other than fucking Paw Patrol for the 100 millionth time! I also made the decision to get active and healthy and get this body of mine into some form of shape. I've been going to the gym, which is huge for me since gyms give me major anxiety, but I like my small town gym. It's supportive and I have a coach to help me plan. I've also been going on hikes and taking Bee, she complains a bit but I think over time she will learn to love it to, as long as we keep seeing wild turkeys and snakes (she's a lot more fearless than me). We've been spending healthy time together, active time together and it's been nice. We've also been eating somewhat healthier. My hope is that this change in my body also helps a change in my mind.
If not, I am scheduled to start counseling again, which always helps me. So yeah, back to brief summary, I had to make some pretty big life changing decisions in a matter of a few weeks and keep my shit together well enough to get through it all. I'm still here so I take that as a good sign. Of course the grief is hitting really hard right now as it always will this time of year. I know it always will and I know it will be heavy and seem life a burden to carry myself but I hurt, I cry because I loved and there is no greater sadness than love because in the end, we all lose someone we love. Tis better to have loved than....not loved I think thats the saying. I know my feelings right now are valid and justified. I know my moods are justified, I know my cravings for junk food and comfort food are justified. But I feel because I work and now Bee is in school, I feel I'm better prepared to handle it.
It still feels heavy as hell and my eyes some days are so weepy I can barely see. I know it's a process, I know they will always feel heavy between September 5th and October 15th. That's a given I can count on, I've also learned that I can't figure life out, things will always come my way. I've been thrown a lot since April and I'm still here so I think I'll be okay. I will take all this shit life is trying to throw me to get me down and I will work with it. I will make it work for me and work for me and Bee. She is afterall, my motivation to do and continue to do. I do it for her,I work for her, I work to pay for her horse riding lessons because the girl is so set on taking some and that shit is expensive but I want her to have at least one summer of that experience if she truly wants it. I want to give her the world because she has given me mine back. But oh man, the grief the last few days, wow, I feel like that giant guy in GOT, he just looks like he is so burdened with heaviness and sadness and trudges through life. Albeit, I wouldn't say we trudged through the 6 1/2 hour 14km hike yesterday. We nailed that one.
Life right now is unknown. There are many big life changing events sitting in the side wings waiting to make their appearance and be "figured" out, or at least discussed. I have no idea what the future holds, no one ever really does. I just know my track record isn't the greatest but I'm paving my own path to deal with that. I'm finally starting to have a say in the way my future turns out and as exhausting as it is, it's honestly kind of nice. Work and working out I think have both been good for me and though I still struggle with the whole I'm back at work, time will get me there. I will learn my own way and find what works for me but at least I have that. At least I am slowly on the path to my own future with Bee by myside, or riding a head on her horse. I'll be carrying the heavy bag of grief and sadness September through October but I'll still be moving a foot a head each day, no matter how heavy it gets. No matter hoe hard the burden of grief seems, on we trudge. Or gallop, or trot or canter, all words I did not know until recently. Oh to be 4 again!
P.S. School anxiety is a whole new level!
I've been wanting to write but I haven't had the heart. I have been so overwhelmed I have had to cut every non-essential task out of my life. Life has been happening at a very quick pace lately and I'm just trying to hold on. A few weeks ago, an issue came up that made me realize I had to go back to work and soon. Work was not on my mind. It hasn't been for years and it wouldn't have for another year. Once Bee was in school the plan was to take some me time since I've really had none in 4 1/2 years but life, oh that life throws things your way that you do not expect.
I had to make plans, I had to figure out a way to support myself and of course Bee's dreams of going horse riding. I panicked and started applying for jobs. Last Sunday I worked my first shift. I work at a retirement resident and though it is so far from what I am use to (over 15 years office work) I looked forward to the opportunity to get back into doing something outside the house. It was uncomfortable but over the hours I started to realize, I'm still capable of doing a lot of what I did before. I had so many doubts and didn't think my previous experience would apply but it did. I started to realize how much I pick up and how quickly I learn (though the memory part is still a process) I started to realize that everything in life teaches you something. Though I am still very uncomfortable, I try to remind myself I am learning. My position is one I have no experience with and I will learn.
All night and all day I just keep thinking of Bee and it motivates me to push forward. I'm doing this for us. I say I'm mostly doing it for her but I also think there is a part that is for me. Life has thrown so many curve balls lately and I'm just trying to go with it. I am submitting the book proposal to any publisher I can find, I have one very interested but I want to make sure I partner with the right company to make sure the book does well and gets into the hands of people who need to read it. It will take time, it will take focus and that ontop of getting a job is why I had no choice but to close down my kids clothing business. My heart is in my book and that is the way I will go.
I don't know what other curve balls life has planned for me but if the last few weeks has shown anything it's that I act on what it gives me. I may do it in a panicked state filled with anxiety and being overwhelmed but I am going back to counseling and hope that continues to help me sort all of this new stuff out.
Of course, Bee also starts school and the emotions, oh man the emotions about that are hard. Add on Jacob's birth and death day and Ty's upcoming birthday.....life has been anything but easy. However, I find during the hardest times is when I have the most motivation. I've made about 6 weeks worth of meals in the last two days because I want to be better organized and prepared, especially when it comes to food. I still have more pre-made freezer to lunch meals to make but I will because I know getting things organized will help.
My job is only part time right now, actually casual so I'm still looking for a better opportunity but I'm going to learn everything I can and give it my all well there. It will also allow me to have some me time, some time to go through this house and get rid of a bunch of things and figure out the next step.
I've also started working out, I want to make sure I am healthy in body and mind. I met with a coach and set a plan and hopefully over the next couple of months my body will become more healthy and since they are so closely related, so will my mind. It's also nice to have something to look forward to, never thought I'd look forward to going to the gym but I love my small town gym, I don't feel as anxious there as bigger ones. I also love that I know all the staff and they are supportive.
At the end of the day, as long as I have put one foot forward, I'm calling it a win. Even if it is filled with doubt and anxiety, as long as I moving forward and making things happen, it is a win.
When asked how I am doing, I often respond with I'm okay, doing alright given the situation, things have been better, or mentioning that I'm just figuring things out. But the more I think about it, the more I've come to feel like you can't figure life out. I don't think there will ever come a point where I have my life figured out but I think that's normal. Life can be shitty, really really shitty, it can throw some nasty curve-balls and most people try to figure it out. I'm guilty of that too. Lately though, I just keep thinking that maybe it is the wrong way to look at things. I don't think you can ever actually figure things out, I think it's more about learning, living with what you are dealing with and making it work for you. I can't figure out life, I cant figure out how to make everything magically better but I can learn in it, I can live with it and make it work for me. Not to say live with it and give up, but live with it and make situations work for you. Grow in those situations. I just really feel you can't "figure things out". but I know from experience you can take the shit in life and make it work for you. You can learn with it and grow from it. That's not the same as figuring it out though because when I think about figuring it out, I think about an end point where I won't have to wonder anymore and life, well that never happens in life.
There will always be something in life coming your way, good or bad, happy or sad. You can;t figure it all out because there is always something else to discover. I've been mindful lately to remember that, remember that you can't figure life out, it's not like a straight forward mathematical problem to be solved. It's more like a river (with some waterfalls and white water rafting thrown in) it ebbs and flows, it curves and drops. Things will always come forward and you'll learn how to do things differently. Different doesn't have to mean bad, it can mean bad for a little while, things are tough to deal with and you're allowed to grieve whatever loss you are experiencing but over time it just becomes, well different. There is still hurt and pain and trying to learn to live with things but I'll never figure out my life. I'll never figure out how to live with the fact that Ty and Jacob and another little one died. I will never figure it all out because I don't think you are suppose to.
So, from now on, I will give myself space to learn and grow, to make things work for me no matter what life throws my way and lately, I feel like it's gearing up for something big but not necessarily a good big. I'm a little anxious and that's an understatement.
Life is truly like a roller-coaster. It has it's ups and downs and for our family, I find the two are closely related, meaning it's hilly as hell. Steep, deep hills. Fast and swervy. The last few weeks have been the perfect example of when life goes to hell. How the roller-coaster feels like it will de-rail.
It started off with excited anticipation. We bought a pass last year to go to a water park in Niagara Falls. We have been looking forward to going for months. It was kind of one of those things I wasn't suppose to be able to do because I was suppose to be pregnant. So after the miscarriage and after my two week wait to get the go ahead, we woke up one Monday morning and decided to go that day. We quickly packed (which is very rare for me, I usually need a few good days but yeah for being spontaneous) and headed off. We had the time of our life and I truly mean that. I smiled and felt warmth and peace and just some really good feelings and emotions were had. Bee had her first experience at Rainforest Cafe and loved it. Then we spent 5 hours at the water park. Let me give you a bit of advice right now, take your kids to a water park and I don't just mean "take the kids", I mean take yourself too. Just go and do it. I even flipped over face first in the wave pool and just laughed at myself.
It was more than just about having fun too. It was a step forward for me. The fact that it was a spontaneous trip was huge, it was only for a night but it was still a few hours from home and that is not normally something I would do but thankful that we did. Prior to the trip, I had to find a bathing suit. I don't like shopping for regular clothes let alone bathing suits. I went 4 days after my miscarriage. Talk about self confidence and body issues at that point. But I actually found one I liked. I put that bathing suit on that Monday and took 5 hours to enjoy life.
There is always joy in seeing Bee have fun. The girl has not stopped asking about going back. She just had too much fun, but then again we all did and we all really want to go back. We stayed together as a family racing down slides together but then Stephen and I also took some time by ourselves to go on the bigger slides. This for me was HUGE. Here's the thing, I have a fear of water slides. Yup, me, afraid of water slides. More so the ones that are covered because as a small child, one of my excursions at Wally World (yes there is a place called Wally World) almost ended up in me drowning. I went down a covered slide and the amount of water splashing in my face was so much I couldn't breathe. I choked and have been scared ever since. So I started small, I went on the tube slides that were open, then to the one that was partially covered, then the one that was mostly covered then the one that was completely covered. I faced fears. I almost barfed with nervousness while waiting in line, I had to really focus on breathing and inner self talk, almost chickened out so many times but I did it and I went again and again. It was actually fun. I even went down the racing slides with the mat that you go face first on, didn't like it but I faced me fear and did it. Won't do it again, but I did it. I faced my fear of water slides and now I can't wait to go back with Bee when she is tall enough for the bigger slides and get to experience that again with her. I mean the happy emotions were real, honest real feel good emotions and for a few hours, it was just so much fun. So go, take you and your kids to a water park and go down those slides. I didn't even think about how I looked for one second. It was awesome.
The whole trip was. Walking by the falls, the tantrum by the falls, breakfast that was more like dessert, time with family, shopping at IKEA.. It was much needed. I definitely needed a few days to recover as my anxiety overwhelmed be after all was said and done. However, life right? Turns out we were needed up in Wasaga Beach on Wednesday to help Stephens grandma move. Talk about more spontaneity. We had just got home on Tuesday and here we were rush packing again to head off. Bee and I didn't have to go but we wanted to. So quickly got everything together and in place for the cats while we were gone and headed off. The drive there and back was wonderful. So many small little towns, really cool houses and the greenery up north is breathtaking.
We got settled in a nice little suite, walked to the beach then headed out for supper. It was a late night but Bee loved it because her aunt and uncle were sharing the suite with us. The next day it rained all day so our beach plans were cancelled, we helped pack instead. But, thankfully, at the end of the day it cleared enough for us to get down to the beach. We spent some time collecting rocks, building a sand castle and putting our feet in the water. Took a late night swim in the heated pool and then warmed up in the Jacuzzi tub. It as the perfect way to end the day. Even though we spent a good chunk moving and loading the truck, it was still so nice to sneak in some precious family moments.
I needed some time to cool down after the whirlwind week. The thing I found though, my anxiety wasn't too horrible after the trips. Normally I get so overwhelmed I'm just off for days but I found it was only really one day where I was just not having it. It didn't last as long as before, maybe spontaneity was the key. Maybe because I didn't give myself time to be all worked up before we left, it helped in the end. It was such an amazing week. We can't afford to do much as a family or go anyplace right now but sometimes being close to home and taking a day or two vacation is just what we need. Of course now we want more!
Life was good, we were going up, then it all came crashing down as life does. It got ugly. It started off with a cold, Bee and I got a cold, nothing we couldn't handle. We just felt yucky so we chilled, didn't do much and tried to get better. Colds we can handle pretty well. My anxiety has learned how to handle mild colds. But then one day Bee started throwing up. Not like her at all, I knew something else had to be going on. She threw up for 7 hours straight. I ended up taking her to the ER because she couldn't stop and we could not get any fluids into her at all.
Hospitals always cause me anxiety. I've had a lot of traumatic experiences at hospitals so I'm always on edge. We arrived and saw quite a wait but thankfully the profuse vomiting and lethargic look bumped us ahead of everyone else and they took her right away. They gave her this magical medicine that made her stop vomiting. We had a few hours wait to see the doctor and they couldn't have put us in a worse room. About 3 hours into our 4 hour wait, they brought in a lady who was having a heart attack. We could hear everything. EVERYTHING. All the beeps, all the vital signs, all the doctors lingo, everything brought me right back to Jacob. It was like I was back in the NICU when he first stopped breathing and they were bagging him. The scary beeps, the ones that say, all shit is breaking loose. All of it. The doctors calling for this and that and it was really like standing in the room with Jacob. but then, the lady died. They could not get her heart to start again and the killer, the silence of death is deafening. You could hear air hit the floor it's that deafening. Noise, noise, noise then nothing. Absolute silence. Silence that makes you want to scream and cry but you can't. It was like then being in the room after Ty was born. It was like I was standing beside myself watching him be born into silence. Or the silence after Jacob was taken off life support and we were left to hold him as he died. Death has a deafening silence.
Then there was the brigade of family members coming in just losing it, which is totally expected but it was like I was reliving Ty and Jacobs deaths all over again. I have never gone this far back. I have never remembered so vividly about their deaths until I was sitting in the ER, holding Bee balling my eyes out. For this lady, for her family, for Ty and Jacob, it's good the doctor didn't come in until an hour later. I needed that time to pull my self together. It was probably the most traumatizing, triggering experience I have had since the boys died.
I'm overwhelmed at the moment, so much anxiety and it's intense. It's really bad right now. Between being tired, Bee sick, the ER fiasco, not having Stephen here, him having to manage our nephews himself (we were taking care of our 4 nephews this weekend), my system is just shutting down. I'm so anxious and worrying about everything. It's had too much and it's done. In theory, I will keep going, I mean I have to, sometimes I have high functioning anxiety. I feel like I have to do do do, even as tired as I am. I have to keep busy to distract my mind. I try to think of better times, I try to think of those feelings at the water park but they are so far gone. I know I banked them and the hope is to one day connect more when I have a full bank of good emotions but it's hard. It's hard when everything else takes over. The last few weeks are just an example of how life is. All the while I keep thinking, we should't have been able to do this because I was suppose to be pregnant. I also fear, taking care of 4 boys may change my husbands mind about more kids. Speaking of which, I didn't even mention....we have our fertility clinic appointment. That event will need its own post. Life can go crazy, it can be crazy good but it can also go to hell.
Understanding is not required to be supportive to someone. You do not need to understand what someone is going through to continue to provide support. Society is missing this key point. I'm trying to figure out where people are coming from when things are said to the bereaved. I honestly want to know, so please comment below if you can give some insight.
Many times bereaved parents are subject to harsh statements. I'm sure the messenger doesn't intend for them to be harsh, but they are. things like "everything happens for a reason", "at least you have....", "be happy about....", "be thankful for....", "think of everyone else suffering far worse travesties than you", etc. My favourite, "choose to be happy". If you follow this blog, you know how I feel about this statement, you know how much bullshit it is and how horrible it is to ever say that to someone, give them a false idea that you can actually choose to be happy when you can't.
What us bereaved are having a hard time figuring out is, do people honestly think that we choose to be this way? For example, I have anxiety and ptsd, there are a vast amount of side effects that come with those mental illnesses. Do people who do not have these mental illnesses honestly think we choose to be anxious and worried and fearful? Do people think we choose to throw up from anxiety or ache so severely or shut ourselves in doors to keep us grounded? Do people think we choose to miss our or decline events because we are ";lazy" or "anti-social"? Do people think we have a hard time planning, organizing, making eye contact because we choose to? Do people think we honestly chose to feel miserable and sad, so much so that some days you break down in the parking lot of a hardware store or in the middle of the frozen food section at a grocery store? Do people think we choose to leave when things become too hard? Do people think we choose to look over bearing and protective of our children because we unfortunately know life is not guaranteed?
It seems that people think those with mental illness choose a lot of "unhappy" things in their life, like it's honestly their choice. It doesn't work like that. I've found those who do not walk this journey and do not understand how to be supportive think we choose these horrible ways to live, like anyone would every choose to feel this way all the time.
I compare it to my food restrictions. Many people do not understand and seem to think I choose to just not eat dairy or wheat when in fact, scientifically it has been proven that my body cannot break down diary or wheat. There are dire consequences if I eat even a small amount (just the other day there was butter on my gluten free toast that I was unaware of because I said no dairy) I spent two days in severe pain, alternating between gravol and advil all day long, missing out on fathers day dinner because I could not be aware from the bathroom. I had a severe headache and stomach ache from just a tiny amount. I don't choose this, I wish more than anything I could eat dairy and gluten filled foods because they are delicious. I miss so many yummy foods. Not to mention the cost to buy dairy and gluten free is not budget friendly. But no, people think I just choose this and it's as easy as just eating them again. It's not.
Its the same for mental illness, do people honestly think we should go on merrily about our lives, pretending we didn't have children die? Like that situation wouldn't change the way you live life? Do you honestly think that is the case? I've now had three children die, two had names and we held, one was to early to know, but do people honestly expect me to live a happy life and be thankful got every god damn thing? It DOES NOT work like that. My grief, my journey greatly affects how I live now. Anxiety dictates a large part of my life because my brain. My body. It remembers everything, all the pain, the heartache, the sorrow, the fear of something going wrong because it has. The daily fight to find the will to keep going, trying to figure out how to breathe and make it through some days.
It affects my marriage severely, that is an ongoing struggle. It affects the way I parent. We are pretty lax with Bee to a point, she gets a lot of things as well as a lot of one on one time because she may be the only one. We do also raise her to be kind and think of others but the girl swears and I'm okay with it. I honestly could care less if my daughter says oh shit. At least she uses it in the proper context and knows not to direct any swear words at anyone (she only knows shit so far, but I imagine fuck is close behind) Sometimes swear words are the only words that fit the situation and like I've said before, I do not hold my daughter to a higher standard than any other adults. Adults swear, so she can too.
Bee also talks a lot about death. She talks about how everyone will die and how we will see Ty and Jacob again, even when we are out in public she talks about death and I get eye popping, jaw dropping stares directed my way, but I won't quiet her. She has such a pure innocence about death and isn't afraid and I want her to hold onto that as long as she can. I want her to keep that outlook and innocence about death so we talk about it in the grocery store, I say yes everyone dies at some point and we go on with our day. Death is a large part of our lives, it's normal and healthy to talk about.
But, do people honestly think we choose to have sad moments, to live a life of fear, to worry so much we make ourselves sick, to be "lazy", don't people think we would choose to be happy and worry free, enjoy life and not mind the small stuff, or not let circumstances dictate our life? It sounds wonderful, it truly does but that's not how it works. So enlighten me, are there people out there who honestly think emotions, mentality, situations can always be chosen? Are there people who think just because they don't understand they have all the answers and can't provide support?
P.S. She got the fish. Named them: Snowflake, Lollipop, Zoe, Goldie and Seashell (See previous post)