Monday, August 15, 2011

Checking In and also Out for a bit

Thank you to everyone who commented here and also sent me private messages of support in the last week. It meant the world to know that even if I didn't respond that Brian and I were being held in your space.

Most of last week I spent in continuous motion with Brian dealing with planning, making arrangements, and in general doing anything I could to push the impending task of being in her house, getting through the funeral, and the after to start.

The after has definitely started and the drive home and the last couple of days have been very hard. For as much as I was ready for this, I also wasn't. Without turning this into an over-share regrettable post that has no place being public right now, some of the revelations that accompanied last week have almost been harder than the death itself.

Some people keep a lawyer on retainer, me a therapist. I've already left a message with her service for when she returns from her annual August long vacation to contact me. I was wrapping up seeing her and frankly have not graced her door since spring. I felt that I was way overdue to end what has become more like a quarterly check in rather than real work. Looks like in addition to the vacation house I have built out of co-pays that I'll be adding a guest cottage.

With Ian starting day care today, Ben kindergarten Tuesday and me a return to full time work on Wednesday I am dropping out of posting this week, maybe next. It's going to be a really busy week and I need every bit of energy I have to exist.

After my dad died a decade ago I shut down and cut myself off from friends. To my credit I was a 1st year teacher drowning in work and a daily 1 1/2 hr commute. Add to it Bill's long term unemployment on top of coming off of my dad's long illness. I did some real damage to our marriage, to friendships, and to myself for letting regret and guilt consume me in the months after. Even though his sickness and death were the catalyst that pushed me originally into therapy, I let myself spiral downward and it took a really long time to get back.

I cannot do this. There is no room to be anywhere near that despair again. Ben and Ian deserve better, Bill deserves better, and I deserve better. I've been in such a better place of late and I need this school year to go well.

Many of my brothers' friends came to both the funeral and also to the house afterwards. Most I didn't know and I am so very thankful that he has their support. I asked the same of them that I ask everyone who knows me to not let us disappear.

Please don't take our mutual stoicism that we both subscribe as a badge of honor for more than it is. Call us out for lying to you in the days, weeks, months ahead that we are totally fine and back to normal.

While I'm not looking for Thanksgiving invitations or hand holding, know that even though we both knew that the end was coming at some point, finally being here is unbelievably hard. Leaving the graveside services to ride alone in the family funeral car as parent-less children was gut wrenching difficult.

My mom kept a car from Ben and a rattle from Ian on her kitchen table to remind her that they would be back to visit. I included both along with a letter and photo of the grandsons I know she loved.

I know she wanted us to be happy and move forward with life after she passed. I also know that for all the regrets I have now and the encroaching guilt of missed opportunity, I have to move ahead and love Ben and Ian for her.

I'll be back with news of kindergarten and daycare starts and hopefully that I'm figuring out a new normal in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime tend to all your relationships, even the hard ones that you want to control, with unconditional love.


LauraC said...

I promise to force you to get out.Mostly to try this new peach sangria recipe I made up this weekend bc it is delicious.

Thinking of you and your entire family.

Kellie said...

I happened upon your blog recently from where I can't remember, but I think we went to EHS together. I am so sorry for your loss...I can only, at this point, imagine how hard this is for you and your brother. I still live in the area and if you need anything when you come this way I would be more then happy to help in any way I can.
Kellie (Jones) Thorne

Beth said...

This was an amazing post Heather. As much as I know you are hurting right now, you are clearly strong and you know exactly how you need to proceed and you seriously have your shit together. I'll quote RFK's version of Agamemnon:

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

Let yourself grieve when and where you can. I'm sure Laura's sangria will help. :-)Sending many hugs and much love your way.

Gillian said...

Lots of love and thoughts to you, Heather. I will paraphrase one of my favorite kids' books (Going on a Bear Hunt) and say - you can't go over it, you can't go under it, oh no! You've got to go through it. (With lots of love and support from the many, MANY people who care about you.)