Thursday, October 18, 2012

Too Many Tangents

I don't really know where to begin with this one.  Let's start by saying that I feel like I've lost my mind.  I will follow that up with anecdotal evidence ;)  I took Daniel to Target this morning (one of about ten errands we had to run).  He didn't push the door close button on his side door, so I pushed it on the remote and then locked the van.  I didn't bother to watch the door close because I heard the beeps signaling that it was closing.  We shopped for about thirty minutes.  As we stepped out of the store, I noticed that there was a van (identical to mine) with both side doors open!  It took all of half a second to realize that it was MY van.  Without paying attention, I had opened the other side door instead of closing the already open one.  The car was locked, but it was wide open...this too shall pass, right?  At some point this freakish absent-mindedness has to ebb.

I have dreaded this week.  Everyone went back to work.  I miss having Will around to keep me laughing.  I also miss being able to run errands with Kim throughout the day.  It's easier to smile through discomfort when you're standing beside someone who really understands.  Baby steps...I'm working on baby steps here.

 I don't feel like I've made much progress when it comes to grieving.  I mean, I guess I could be, but sometimes progress in grief feels like moving backward.  The current feeling is something akin to being weaned off of anesthesia after a surgery.  You're fuzzy-headed, you can't really communicate, but you know that whatever they have given you for pain management is NOT doing it's job. 

I doubt that any of this is unique to me.  It's the worst right after my kids go to bed.  All day, I (we) push through to keep things semi-normal for the kids, and once they go to bed everything rushes at me (us) at warp speed (a nerdy reference, but you get the gist).  I feel bad for Will.  When the kids are tucked in bed, he is left with weepy Catherine who can't stop thinking about the fact that her Papa is gone.  I'm definitely making an effort to be normal-ish, but it can't be easy for him to deal with. 

In a strange twist, I'm starting to feel like a social cripple.  I know that with time, this ought to improve, but for the time being I am avoiding large groups of people who know me.  Is that strange?  It is difficult to deal with the questions and condolences.  It's not that I don't want to talk about it at all.  I talk to my family and close friends about it a lot.  This blog is also a healthy outlet for me right now.  But, the idea of sitting with a small or large group of people who I'm not 100% comfortable with and talking about it sends me into mini panic attacks. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light."

I imagined this differently.  I had all of the facts.  I talked to the doctor privately to find out what was really going on all along.  I knew the prognosis, and I had done my research.  I started mourning the loss of my Papa the moment I heard the words "stage 4 lung cancer."  I knew that cancer never leaves a person or family unscathed because we went down this road with my Grandma almost exactly nine years ago.  But, here I am, a complete mess.

The loss of a parent is a completely different kind of ache.  I hurt for my loss, but I hurt so much more for my children, my Mom, my niece, and nephew.  For my children's part, they will only have faint memories of the man who loved them so much and wanted desperately to watch them grow up.  I also hurt for the loss of their innocence in a way.  They're so young to lose someone so important to them.  My nephew Khoner, actually watched Papa die.  He is only ten, and Papa served such a huge purpose in his life.  He was more like a second father than a grandfather, and that memory will probably replay in Khoner's mind for the rest of his life. What a frightening thing to endure for such a young boy.

I believe that Papa is in a better place.  He's with the twins that we lost, which makes me a little bit jealous.  He's also celebrating with my Grandma.  They loved each other so dearly, and it is a comfort to know that they are together again. 

Every day, I watched his misery.  I was helpless against the constant pain and agony he felt.  We all were.  I truly wanted what was best for him, and I told him from the beginning that I didn't want him to feel any obligation to me when it came to fighting.  I told him that when he couldn't fight any longer, I would understand.  So, I know that he's in a better place, and that is a comfort in times like this.  The problem is, he took a part of my heart with him that I know I can never replace.  I am so happy for him.  I am so unbelievably sad for me.

"Time heals all wounds."  I don't buy it.  Time might make them more bearable, but I will always miss my Papa just like I miss my Grandma.  I know that I'll get to a point where I'm not a sobbing mess, but he will always be on my heart and mind.  With my Grandma, it's an ache that catches me off guard on a daily basis.  Just a passing moment when I remember something silly or feel her loss acutely.  I know that it will be different with Papa.

Right now, I'm going through the motions, but I feel like a zombie.  It's like sleep-walking through life.  I smile when I'm supposed to, and I try to be the mother that my kids need, but it's hard.  The grief hits when I least expect it and takes my breath away.   The elephant settles down on top of my chest for what feels like an eternity.  My children don't understand what happened, so it's something that we relive multiple times a day.  I have reminded them every day since Papa died that he was a special person.  I don't ever want them to forget how extraordinary he was.  I will never forget.

I didn't write this to make people worry about me.  I wanted desperately to be honest about what all of this felt like.  I have hope.  I know that day by day, I will learn to cope a little better with the loss of my Papa.  I have an amazing husband who has been so incredibly supportive.  He has held my hand and wiped away so many tears in the last seven months.  He's taken care of the kids on the days when it was rough to get out of bed (I know those days aren't over yet).  I am so grateful to be near my Mom and extended family.  We will all make it through this, but we know the road will be long.