It’s been maybe 7 weeks sense Brett passed; and things seem to be slowing down like I expected them to. The weather is getting better and people in my community are getting busier. The idea of being a single parent is starting to kick in and I’m starting to get that 2 pm lul. It’s either around 2 or 5:30/6 when. I would usually be expecting my homebee to be walking in to door. I used to be cooking dinner around 5 but I often find myself cleaning and trying to get the house tidy before he comes home. But that’s just it… He isnt. I find myself cooking and feeding Tucker then cleaning up then playing with Tucker and stalling before bed time. Some times we take a bath and some times we read I suppose it depends on the evening but every evening we miss you. No one has really asked me what it is like having him gone, just one friend. Most everyone else asks generic question like how’s it going? Which often feels like a greeting. It’s such a loaded question I don’t even know what to say. My mom asks me that the most, usually super chipper and almost every time I’m speechless and I just respond… I don’t know… Or I completely graze over it and just start talking about something else. My friend Lauren said to me that she would respond “how do you think it’s going?!” It seemed harsh the first time she told me to respond that way… But it’s starting to seem more appealing.
No one has offered to come stay with me sense it happened. I have had a roommate for the past 3 months… But it seem like because she’s here no one feels like they need to be here. Or call in the evenings… Or any of that. I suppose they think I will put out some cry for help and then someone else will be here to pick up the pieces. But most of my community seems to be living happy lives and life just keeps happening. I guess I expected my parents or my in-laws to want to come and stay with me as I adjusted to being a single mom… Kinda like when you come home with a new baby… But no. None of those things happened. I’m starting to wonder if this is what “growing up” is really like… Or “being an adult”… Maybe something like ” well those were the cards you were dealt… So deal with it ” but saying it in a kind and loving voice?
Last night as I tucked myself in to bed I found myself thinking “I’m living in a dead mans’ house”… “My dead husband’s house… The one he left me… The one I’m so thankful to have, because without it I wouldn’t have a house….(Esp with how expensive our housing market is) but no the less I’m living in a dead mans’ house.”
It feels like it never happened. Like none of it ever happened… I have this kid… Yea.. and this house full of stuff… And every night around dinner time I hit a wall because I expect (somewhere deep down in my brain) that someone might come relieve me… its usually around the time Brett got home from work… And I keep thinking if I get the house clean and dinner ready before he gets home then….
I dont know….
… then it will be just me again. Missing my husband who loved me deeply and didn’t want to die. Who loved me back… Hard. Who fought for us, for Tucker, for our love story. but the reality of ever living the life we used to have when we were Brett and Robin will never happen again and coming to the reality of this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
One of the 3 times I saw him cry was at the hospital… We were snuggling before he was released and he cried to me and said ” what if I don’t get to see Tucker play with his friends? Get good grades? Or go to any of his games?”
I loved a man who loved me back deeply, and only cried at the idea of not being a family as our son grew. Even at the end when he was delusional he would randomly say things like “but not Tucker… He’s too young…” To young for what we would ask… He responded weird things like “to go in the ride… It’s to fast for him…” So we reassured him that he was right and Tucker was indeed to young and we wouldn’t let him ride
Today I hit a wall. My mom was late to come over and pick up Tucker and I have been somewhat overwhelmed because he’s teething again… (He’s teething 4 teeth at the moment and he’s cranky. This will bring his grand total to 16 teeth). I went to see my NP and ended up breaking down. I was trying to tell her whats been going on in my head and I couldn’t figure out how to say what I was thinking. I was feeling extremely distracted and disorganized in my thoughts that I had a hard time finishing my thoughts. I then went to a friend’s house to shop through her lularoe clothing and found my self rambling aimlessly… My sweet friend just let me… But I was exauating myself just trying to remember what I was saying and she had to be dragged along into my swamp. Before I left I checked my phone and my mom said my gram was in the ER with heart problems. There it went again… My anxiety. I was already having a weird day and then it went again… By the time I got to the ER and found out everything was fine… I started to get super tired… Like an emotional crash. My gram complained about her dinner options…. I was basically speechless about her ablity to complain. She’s in the ER, room 35, a room I’m sure thousands of people have died in… And here she is complaining that her only options were turkey or roast beef for a sandwich. In fact once the nurse offered her her choices she responded “oh, no.. I think I’ll just have cottage cheese or jellow thank you.” Uh… That wasn’t an option. She then asked for something to drink.. the nurse said I can bring you water.. my gram promptly respond “oh heavens no… Water.. gaaaa! That’s only used to brush your teeth! I’ll have something more refreshing! Like a juice of some sort or a soda… Oh! And NURSE! I only drink sugar free soda…. ” . . . O.o. I was speechless. The nurse respond ” I can bring you ice for your water so it’s colder and more refreshing?”
She then brings my gram her dinner… And 2 juice options, my grandmother slected both. She opened her sandwich and complained that it was squished and went on a rant about how she’s been there sense 3 pm an it was almost 7 and she was floored that no one had thought to bring her dinner… I kindly reminded her that she was in the ER and not a regular room and her dinner options were the least of the ER doctors concerns. She then complained about the juice containers and how they were hard to drink from and how she got ahold of this article that said not to give juice to babies under the age of one… Esp orange juice. ” Can you believe that?! Did you know that?! She asked me… Uh… Yea. I know about that gram. Thanks.
After she finished her juice she then went on to tell me how inconvenient it was that she had to be in the ER…. because today was a hair washing day and she didn’t think she needed to be in the ER… Even though she’s been short of breath for a few weeks now… Because her heart isn’t pumping enough blood so she’s getting weak. I told her to let her cardiologist know when he got here that it was a hair washing day and how inconvenienced she was to be there. She chuckled. I just slow blinked. And thought to myself… The last time I was here these same nurses told me that there was nothing further they could do for Brett. We went home.. then back to the ER closer to home because the vomiting was still out of control, he had vomited I think 17 times by that point… A total of 21 by the end of the day. After he was hospitalized for 3 days the hospital Dr decided with Brett that it was time for hospice. His body was failing past a point where they could offer relief. Vomiting 4/5x an hour is caused by spasms in your stomach trying to digest but if your constapated and food can’t go down it comes up… Hence the wretching. That was the beginning of our hospice journey… In that ER that my grandmother was complaining about her dinner options.
There is this stigma around widowhood… Well there is a lot of stigma around widowhood and for good reason but the specific reasons I’m talking about are the ones that apply to my story not someone else’s.
I keep finding myself saying “today was a REALLY good mental health day. I feel like these are the normal days that I have been waiting for” I find myself sitting alone at the end of the day once Tucker is in bed happy. It’s true… I am happy. For the situation I am in and the community that I have to deal with this, I feel like I’m doing pretty freaking awesome. In general I’m not depressed and I feel like that is a huge answer to prayer. My dad to day feelings are not sadness or fear but joyfilled. That is the prayer that has been answered. So many people prayed for me after this “storm passed” that Tucker and I would make it to the other side of things whole and together and I feel like the Lord has showed up. We have has so many good days, so many good moments, so many mommy and me moments where I feel so deeply loved.
It often doesn’t feel like real life…. how could it possably be real life. I sometimes find myself framing it like it was an internship… a job… I don’t know something… but not a marriage. it couldn’t have possably been a marriage…. a marriage.. the one that I was in doesn’t end like this. it almost feels like I did all the things I was supposed to do and I did my job well and I ended up with a baby boy, and a house, 2 cars, a dog and a new family that I now have to figure out how I fit in. I feel like I have become the peace keaper of both sides of our families and really of my own mind. juggling my family, my inlaws, my friends, my new roles, my old way of talking, using phrases like “when we got diagnosed” or when “we moved” into hospice… phrase after phrase my life became an alternate reality. could someone I loved so deeply really be gone. Did I really watch him take his last breath? were his nails really blue just like the doctors told me they would be during his last few breaths. was he really in denile whe whole time about dieing? could this really be my life? we did everything “right”… we fought for life as hard as we could. we wanted eachother. till our last words we choose eachother. his last words to me were his usual ” love you” the last words of his that were truly his were ” you always snuggled me… even at the end…. you Always snuggled me.” we choose eachother every day and yet I feel like the results of our love and diligence and intentionality we still somehow failed. I some how failed. failed to keep him, failed to keep us all together. but I still feel like I did everything right so something still doesn’t seem to add up. I still have the love and support from everyone, and almost all of our friendships… but theres still something off that I feel cant be explained. He loved me… he told me soo all the time… he said he loved all of me with all of him. he msaid he would marry me all over again if he could, that I was the best thing that ever happened to him. but here I am siting alone…. typing this out… sitting on the floor of my living room while our sweet baby boy sleeps. hes getting so big and walking and doing things that I know his dad would have wanted to see… and be apart of. that’s one of the few things he cried over, nowing that he wouldn’t be able to watch bubbie grow up and be successful in school, or get good grades, or play sports… even to just teach him to catch… all the things that he was dreaming he would be able to do with tucker. Tucker smiles at me with this sheepish grin sometimes while holding his paci in his mouth…. sometimes just when he sees me walk in the room… its this sort of sideways smile the look that homebee and I gave eachother all the time. I know homebee would see himself in that look, I know he would have loved to see that look. its the look you wait to see as a parent… through all the tears and colic I feel like that is one of the “it paid off” feelings that I know he would have liked to be there for.
Every time I kiss Tucker I kiss him twice. Once for him and once for Homebee. I told myself that when he died I would express my love for him to tucker, that I would share the joy of what that love looked like with Tucker.
One of the hardest things I have been struggling with sence Bretts passing has been disorganization. Its everywhere. My friend Kathy joked affter his passing when i was getting things put together for his service that the messiness of my house was a metafor for my brain. but ever sense she said that it has been one of the first things i notice when im starting to feel overwhelmed. My house is often the first sign that my life feels like its falling apart. Having people like my mom come over once a week and help me with laundry has made a really big difference, it reminds me that im not alone in this whole mess.
Having ADD and going through extreme grief like this has encouraged me to look further into ADD and how to work through it as an adult. I did a bit of poking around on amazon and found a book that talked about how ordination is one of the most difficult things to manage in adulthood while growing up with ADD. it talked about how people think ADD is a childhood illness and that when you grow up you are supposed to be come an “adult” which is more or less broken down into being organized enough to be on time, and manage a house hold, to multitask at work while succeeding in most things you do, work out and take care of your body, make sure to eat a balanced meal and raise a family all at the same time. These things all take a lot of diligence and a tun of planning but they both take organization.
I have been feeling like the main thing that I needed help with over the past few months is help with time management but after reading that I see that even time management breaks down into organization skills. It’s frusterating that things like staying up on the laundry seems so hard or that making meals 3 times a day is a really regular thing. I often find myself in the twilight zone and without Tucker reminding me that he’s bored or hungry I feel like I would waste so much more in the day then I already do. I want to be productive with my days and I want to be intentional with my time. I talked with my grievance councilor today and at the end of every session i find my self asking him what my next steps are and that if maybe I change my wording that he will finally tell me something different… but he doesn’t. He keeps reminding me that the “big 6″ are the only things i need to be working on and I cant over look the importance of them. He said it was like telling a basketball player to only work on dribbling, there are to many things for him to focus on that only looking at one piece of the game doesnt help him become a better player. He then told me that in 2018 I will be a radically different person than i am now and the only way to do that is to work on the ” big 6″ if I don’t then I will continue to have these same sorts of problems because I cant break the cycle without working on myself as a whole.
The Big 6 : Diet, excercise, sleep, introspection, journaling and distraction. Hes right you know. I havnt been working on those things like I should be. Im still missing lunch often and I only have been working out maybe 2x a week. I should be taking it more seriously and working on the things hes asking me to do, he is the one who knows the most about the process and is helping stay off the crazy cycle. I feel like mastering the big 6 will help me find out who I am . I know that I will be forced to become a new woman through all of this and I have already changed ten fold over who I was. There is something freeing about knowing that I will grow out of this stage… this floundering stage where everything is foggy and I feel like I have little control of whats happening around me.