Hit Refresh

It has now been almost two months since I last posted. A lot has happened — some bad, some painful, some good – in that time period. Thought I would refresh and update everyone….not that anyone even reads this blog.

The move was expensive as well as difficult emotionally and mentally. The three weeks before the final moving day, I was in Virginia alone and a few days were killer. I contemplated ending it all but way too many people snapped into action to keep that from happening (THANK GOD, for by his Grave I am saved!) I managed to get everything packed, tossed, donated, or given away. I was supported constantly by my friends both by their prayers, their words and their actions. (Again, may God be praised!) And finally on October 3, I threw the last box in the UHaul, trailered up my Equinox and hit the road. Now THAT, let me tell you was an adventure LOL

I have never driven a UHaul more than a few miles and certainly not with a car trailered to it. Now I was setting off on a 250+ mile drive—through the mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It was sink or swim time! I managed pretty well. Probably a 9.7 combined score. Only issue was stopping for gas and being afraid of navigating the whole rig away from the gas pumps and having to ask the store manager for help. I made it to PA unscathed and in record time. I parked at the church near the storage unit, untrailered the car, drove on to mom and dad’s place and then went back in the morning to unload the truck into the storage unit. Returned the UHaul and then waited a couple weeks for the rest of my things to arrive from Pack Rat.

I had lots of good helpers when the Pack Rat container arrived, which was a good thing since I only had a three day turnaround for the pickup of the container. Wish I had been a bit more organized in how we put everything in the storage unit, but it is what it is. I will get it all straight eventually. I have my essentials, I am set up and comfortable in my second floor space, and I am blessed to have somewhere to lay my head every night. It can only improve from here.

Next blog post – how much I hate being single and “out there” again…..

Time to unveil the shitstorm that is my life

My husband died 6 years ago, and two years later, I met a man through mutual friends, who would become my Ch 2 (technically Ch 3 bc LH was #2). He moved to Virginia from Alabama to be with me, and in June 2018, we got married.

Until December 2019, things were very good. His mother’s COPD became worse, and he struggled with her impending death. As a widow, I understood what he was grappling with and offered everything I could to help. We spoke to our priest, he went to therapy, I let him be quiet, I let him cry. Then COVID hit and a week later, mom died. What had been a struggle for both of us became insurmountable. I remained patient with him, but my mental health was being affected as well.

Two weeks after returning from her burial, I was visiting with my parents, and he was hanging out with a buddy. He had been drinking pretty heavily for the past month, and that night was no exception. He mentioned to his buddy that he wished he was dead and ended up in the psych ward of the hospital after being combative. I immediately drove the 300 miles to get back home. Once released we had a long talk about getting help and moving forward. That lasted about 2 weeks before he was back to drinking heavily every night and spending his evenings sitting in the garage alone. He was agitated and anxious all day every day. Nothing I did or didn’t do could stem the arguments that were full blown, red-faced screaming matches. I was at my wit’s end. I didnt know what to do.

I continued traveling back and forth every 3-4 weeks to take care of my parents, but he always encouraged me to do that. In late June, a friend of his who was like a father died. That was the beginning of the end. Things quickly spiraled downward. He told me he was lost, did not know who he was anymore, hated his job, etc. We discussed his return to truck driving. I had retired on July 1, so we could move wherever he needed to be if he wanted to drive again. On August 1, a couple days after he returned from being in Florida with his late friend’s family, taking care of things for them, he came home from work and told me he was leaving to return to Alabama. He had a truck job offering and needed to be there in 2 weeks. I offered to wrap things up here and move with him, but he told me he wanted to be alone. No further discussion, a lot of crying (me) and screaming (him), and he left.

Fast forward to now and I am in the process of packing up my entire house (he only took what he wanted, which wasnt much) and moving in with my parents in PA. Since I retired, I cannot afford to stay here on a reduced income, so I am left with this option. While I am very happy about being back home again after 31 years away, the last 5 weeks have been pure hell. I am alone, completely alone, trying to pack up a 2 bedroom home where I have lived (and accumulated) for 14 years.

Today was the hardest day so far. I have not eaten much, surviving on cigarettes, coffee, and Mt Dew, for the last few days. Can’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. Having strange dreams where I am being suffocated and held down. This is, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done.

I used up all the strength and determination I had six years ago when my husband died. I had people around then to make me laugh and forget and take care of things. I could afford to stay where I was. I loved him more than life and felt him with me every day. I do not have that this time, and I don’t know how much more I can take. I have friends who check on me daily and have offered to help me pack, but it isn’t helping me. That may sound selfish or shitty, but it is my mindset right now. I am scared. I am anxious. I am lost. I know that with time, this too will be okay but right now, I am in such a dark, miserable place that I cannot function well enough to finish what I need to.

It’s Been a While…

My life got pretty busy the last five years, and I started sharing more of my thoughts on a FB group I belong to.  Since I am retiring in August, I will have more time to dedicate to writing, so I am getting started again.

So!  Here is my command to all of you trying to kick grief’s butt right now….

WAKE UP!

GET UP!

SHOW UP!

(Thanks for coming to my TED Talk)

Take Courage, Lady! (Judith 11)

“If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”
― Sarah Kay

20 Ways to Get Through Those Bad Days – Maureen Hunter

After the loss of a loved one we are thrown into the chaos of grief, flailing around aimlessly in the swell of hurt and emotions that swamp us. Every day seems like a bad day.

Even many years later we can have days where the effort of coping, the effort of everyday demands and the effort of living becomes too great to bear for a time. We give in and collapse, letting ourselves become engulfed and dragged down by our emotional burdens.

When we’re in that place it’s hard to find a way out, to see daylight and be able to breathe in fresh air again. Here are some tips to help you navigate the black hole – 20 ways you can get through your bad days. More

Happy Birthday, Howie

I had no idea that today was going to be so difficult.  While I have been self-talking the last few days, I was in no way prepared for this.  I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I had a headache, which is unusual for me.  This morning when I woke up at 6, there was no way I was going to function without more sleep.  I called in for half a day off but managed to make it in by 10:30.

I can go for days, sometimes weeks, with nothing extremely pressing to tackle at work.  Why today, when I am not quite wrapped tight, do I have 500 little things that need my immediate attention in addition to one extremely emotional teenager, two concerned parents, and a frantic administrator?  I am truly not sure if I will make it through this day.

I have planned a lantern release at 7 PM tonight with my friends.  I know I need to follow through and do it, but what I really want to do is sleep.