Sunday, August 27, 2017

This Journey

I keep thinking of this life as a journey.  A series of steps from one point to another.  A series in which there is no choice.  I have to move forward…there’s a current and it is unforgiving.  One step in front of the other and that is the only choice I have.  I am usually a huge advocate of taking any step…tiptoe if you must but take that step!  And now I find myself paralyzed with moving forward.  I’’m approaching an anniversary in time that I wish didn’t exist.  The after to my before.  The forever to my singular moment!  I have great expectations…I have goals and I have plans to make the worst year of my life a catapult to growth in development.  But I also have fear…paralysis, regret, sadness and uncertainty.  I have completely lost myself in the grief of losing my parents.  Yet I have also found this sense of responsibility…to finish the unfinished…to right the wrongs…to say the things that were unsaid!  I’m handling the last chapters of books I didn’t write!  It’s torturous and unfamiliar but I am just not sure where else I should rest.
I have taken a huge step in my life…I have decided to really let go and trust a grief therapist.  My heart…it’s completely broken yet all I have left. It’s guarded more than it ever has been. I have built a wall around myself.  It’s almost like nothing can hurt me…but I had a friend tell me that I was better.  “you aren’t a punching bag anymore”  “I’m proud of you” she said…it made me think!  She may not remember but it was chiseled in my mind.  a punching bag?  Was I?  How?  Have I lost myself or found something new?  My heart is different.  It’s tough…maybe marbled with a chill …my attitude has changed…I just can’t!  With the crazy, the drama, the blame, the pity…I just can’t.  Grief therapist number 3…maybe it’ll work out.  She had good insight…her goals for me seemed reasonable and for the sake of all that is Holy, she didn’t ask “how does that make you feel?”  Maybe she’s a keeper?  

i’ve spent 11 months, dreading September.  Isn’t there a Green Day song about September?  I have spent 11 months in a nightmare…a literal nightmare.  If I could have journaled every single night of my nightmares it would have become commonplace.  With the exception of another brief dramatic event in my life, the nightmares of my parents dying have continued.  For a full year…   I struggle to sleep….a few nights ago, after hours of trying, I was finally drifting.  At the point between awake and asleep I heard my mom.  Her voice was so loud and clear…not a dream, not a nightmare…just her voice!  I can’t remember what she said but that moment has been followed by nightmares….the same exact story!  She is dying and I can’t help her….sometimes she is intubated, sometimes vocal, sometimes she is actually at home…but every single time it is very clear…she will die!  I have no control!  She will die…today, tomorrow, at some point…my dreams don’t trick me…she always dies!  We’ve only talked once…that is not enough!  
Are you ready to move on?  A question that so many ask!  Let me answer this…simply…completely…unapologetically….I WILL NEVER MOVE ON!!!!  The void is huge.  Don’t compare!  Don’t tell me that time heals…I thank you for the love but don’t.  Don’t imagine what it’s like.  Don’t compare.  Don’t negate….I respect your journey and please respect mine.
September will come…ready or not…her date of death will come…and then her funeral date…and then my dads death…and his funeral…and then life turns the page on another year.  I have no say…i will move into year 2.  Another year of memories that I have no one to call.  Another year that I wish I could just call the one person that would be overly excited like me.  She was my person.  I was his baby…and her’s too!  Their boys, as they so lovingly referred to them as, will forget!  They are growing and excelling and loving me hard through this but they will forget!  They’ll forget the games grammy played on the tablet, the silly gifts when she came to visit…they’ll forget grandpas gardening skills, the golf clubs and his excitement for them to play organized sports.  They’ll forget!  Most people will…

It’s a part of the journey…I have no choice but to let it occur!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Time doesn't stand still...

Here we are...back to where it all started a year ago.  I usually look forward to our big vacation in Charleston and although I am ready for some good food and a low key week, I am hesitant of all that comes with it.  Our trip is a week later this year...last year, I talked with my mom multiple times.  She wasn't feeling well but it wasn't uncommon that we didn't talk multiple times a day while I was on vacation.  Leif isn't home much, so mom was overly cautious with interrupting family time.  I talked to mom on Wednesday and she was winded.  She wasn't  feeling well.  I told her to rest, don't over do it and to call me if she needed anything.  "I can leave in an instant" I said.  The next call I received was a frantic call from my moms best friend.  Long story short...once I hung up with her she called 911...she was that bad but wouldn't tell me.  Mom assured me she was fine.  I offered to cut my vacation short several times...she was insistent that I didn't.  Between that Thursday and her death, almost a month later, a novel was written.  A story to be told one day...just not right now.  From that frantic phone call on, life life was flipped upside down.  Everything is foreign and my tolerance for ignorance no longer exists.  I have lost every single piece of myself that is recognizable since this time last year.  I've lost most of my hair.  Gained over 30lbs and have lived from the 16th to the 16th of every month.  Another month without her...gone.  Time just really doesn't exist in these unfamiliar terms.  
Nightmares are common for fact, a night without seeing my mothers dead body is pretty rare.  Insomnia has become my friend...we think together, plan together and sometimes we panic together.  But last night was different.  I struggled to sleep which isn't rare...but as I began to drift off to the point where your anxious thoughts meet an unfamiliar friend of relaxation, I heard a voice.  A very familiar voice.  It was my mom.  She said something profound...something I needed to hear from her but I hate myself for not leaping out of bed writing it's lost on me now, but that sleepless night isn't.  I heard her loud and clear.  The rest of my night was spent analyzing her words until exhaustion took over and now my memory fails me.
So here I am.  About to relive Groundhog Day.  Knowing me, I will terrorize myself with every single memory.  Every word.  Every tear.  Every beep of that machine will haunt me.  It can't be a full year, can it?  The nightmare is on replay and there is no pause button!
Forgive me as I relive it.  And then 10 weeks later
I relive the sudden death of my father.  They say I'll get better.  They say it's a process.  What do they know anyway????  #sabolstrong

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Maybe this is step 1...

And my life has changed…over and over and over again.  The past 9 months have forced me to ride a really interesting roller coaster that I am just not sure that I was cut out for.  I am a little over 9 months past my first real heartbreak in life…the death of my mom….my best friend!  10 weeks later my dad died!  Here I am…attempting this really crazy thing called grief….I have no idea what it means and trust me, therapy hasn’t given me any insight!  Do I tell it like it is, YEP!  I do!  Therapy hasn’t helped….at least at this point it hasn’t!  Dying is a business…one that maybe one day I can talk about but for now just know that the business of dying sucks….no one wins, strangers are shady and if there is any money to be had….Good GOD, help us all!!!  Apparently business is where my parents thought I succeeded and let’s just be real….I hate it.  I have run the estate like a well oiled machine but my heart has broken with every singe document I have filed.  Schedule 1, Schedule 2, schedule 3….all the way to schedule 8, 9, 10,11 and so on and on….no-one watches and no one cares that the paper work breaks your heart over and over and over again!!!    Overtime I try to take a deep breath yet I feel guilty…I am struggling big time.  Holding on to every single little thing that I can and completely regretting ever single second!  If I had it within me, I would shed light on the unfairness…10 weeks that separated 2 lives…2 people who made their mark in such different ways!  When your dad dies 10 weeks after your mom…no one cares…that’s not meant to garner sympathy!  That’s the truth.  The response is different!  He was a proud man, one that would want no pomp and circumstance….but he was my dad!  And I was his baby girl!   As I was standing at the front of the room at my moms funeral, holding the whole weight, in front of flowers galore, I watched my dad walk in.  He was different….he had quickly changed with his health but he was still my daddy!  I remember that day, that moment like it was forever sealed in my heart….I walked quickly to my dad….black dress and black heels …money not well spent!  A fortune on the damn shoes and that dress….hundreds upon hundreds of dollars spent on looking perfect…for her….I was representing her!!!  And trust me, she was watching and judging…that’s just her!  And when my dad walked in…changed…with his cane…I lost it!  I ran to him!  I hugged him so hard and I said to him….”you can’t leave me too”.  Everyone was watching and I have a strong feeling that they were thinking the same thing…”don’t leave her”…  He did! 10 weeks later… he was gone!  I held a bedside vigil for my mom and my dad was gone with a simple phone call.  9am on a Monday morning…BOOM!  That’s it!   I have spent a lot of time riding emotions…letting others feelings impact mine!  I have heard that my mom…to me…wasn’t the same to others….I have felt guilty .  There has been a weight that both of my parents laid on me.  Do this, do that, make sure this, make sure that….I’m one person!  And I just wonder when and where I can grieve!  Their baby girl…the one who was closest to them…am I allowed to grieve too???

I spend a lot of time not sleeping when I should be!  Some days I can cry really really hard and some days I stare at the wall!  I am broken.  Last week while sitting at the table with my boys I was suddenly startled out of thoughts…my 7 year old, Aiden, said “Mommy, what are you thinking about?”  I had to shake my head…as I do often!  I shake the thought, I shake the fear, I shake the memories….is PTSD an insult when you haven’t served in a war zone?  because I hate to say I have it….I close my eyes and I see a breathing tube, I see her legs moving, I see the suction, I see her tears as she begged the doctor to listen intently….she didn’t…I begged them too!!!   I can see the flight crew, the machines, the blanket they draped her in to calm her fever, machines, medication, life support measures…..and let’s be honest…I see her body laying there…after Jeanie said she was gone….flashbacks happen!  A LOT….They happen a lot….they are like freezing headaches….things I have to “shake” from my memory!  Those weird headaches…  And most nights I lay in my bed sleepless!  Afraid to sleep!  The nightmares are tortuous!   once in almost 10 months has she come to me to talk and calm me…otherwise she is dying…every single time, she is dying…my dad?  Not yet!   He’s given me a break, I guess!  But most nights I see my mom sick…she is always sick… we always know she is dying!  I am not sure why I say we…it’s me!  Sleepless!  Nauseous!  Terrified and let’s be honest…I’m exhausted!  I am haunted!  By her breath, by his….by the story of his last moments…by the way she squeezed my hand.   By almost 10 months of life that I have no one to tell about!  By the drama behind the scenes.  By the change in my normal.  The change in me…the way I have completely shut down!  No one can fix me!  But when Aiden asks what I am thinking about???  All I can do is just say that’ it’s not what you think!  “I have no idea”   Is it Grammy?” he says….is it????  I have no clue!  “Mommy, maybe it’s grandpa?”  “Yep baby, this time… it’s grandpa!  My daddy!  I was his baby girl.  Do you know how much that meant?”  Of course he doesn’t….no one does….because he died 10 weeks after my mom…my precious mom!!!!  The social butterfly died right before the quiet storm!  That’s not a great story to tell!  That wasn’t a fair deal…2 lives that were forever intertwined but desperately separate!  They shared me and my sister and those memories…2 daughters who are opposites but both caught up in moving on!  Because that’s what everyone says we should do right??? Move on???  You won’t find me on the other side…just won’t!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

one step

I miss my blog.  I think about it often!  But I also have a life of crazy to deal with... and so my blog has been reduced to notes in my phone or on a scratch sheet of paper.  I'll be honest.  I struggle to sleep.  I have spent many nights laying awake in the bed, on the couch, pacing the floor and sometimes taking a few xanax in hopes that I can close my eyes and maybe function a few hours later.  Life doesn't wait.  grief doesn't wait either.  

May I?  May I tell you a story?  A story about the girl who is grieving?  A story about how no-one  wants to sit with the girl who is grieving.  It's not a sad story.  It's a true story.  A story about life and about experience....potentially the one you will never hear.  It's masked by life and by the perception of the "un-greived".  It's a story about 2 elephants.  2 big, huge, pink, dead elephants sitting in a room!  And then theres me....sitting on top of them.  I'm the girl whose parents died!  Hi...I'm Me...Teresa! I'm not weird or scary but my folks died...simultaneously...boom boom.  Yep, I said died and then the other!  It's's uncomfortable.  You don't know what to say.  I get it!  I have no idea what to say either....but the looks, the avoidance, the people who see me out and turn the other way..,I get it!  
You can ignore me, you can move on, you can encourage me to resume my past show answer your call, your God Teresa what happened to you???  I wish I knew.  
I've changed...and so have you.... you see me differently.  Dare I say "mom" or "dad" and you are instantly uncomfortable.  But that is exactly what I want to talk about....both mom and dad....2 people who loved me, believed in me, and gave me their all.  If you have ever liquidated your best friends life then please tell me...but...NO....I am not the same.  I never will be!  I have changed....I have a broader perspective.  I will never be the same...never!!!  I don't feel the need to explain.
  Are you back? they ask... No, and I never will be back.  I am different.  I am changed.  I am the girl in the middle of the room, trying her best not to draw attention to herself but the one who is sitting on 2 pink dead elephants in the room... Guess what??? they aren't going anywhere.  There are dead....they are huge...there is no way around them....Ya'll it happened!  Life continues for each and every one of life is now defined by before and after.  Yet they sit there...dead!  It's not going to change and you will never know what to say!  
So, may I answer your questions???  NO....No, I am not ok.  No, I am not back.  I have no idea what i will feel in the next 15 seconds so I can assure you that I have no idea what I will feel tomorrow. 
Let me re-introduce myself....I'm Teresa!!!  Hi....the girl that no-one wants to talk to....the girl who is grieving and that is awkward.  I promise you that grief isn't contagious...if you bring them up, I won't self combust and guess what???  you won't die either!!!  But they will still exist...or at least their memory will...if I say their name, I promise you won't die won't "catch it".
I have minimized myself to a liar.  Yes, I said it.  I am a huge liar.  "how are you?"  I will lie to your face...why?? well because the bottom line is that you really don't care.   That's a pleasantry....How am I????  I'm awful.  I'm struggling.  I wish it was me!!!...but let's be real...that's not what you want to hear...that's weird and uncomfortable.  The truth is's a big fat pink's obvious!  How could it not be?  But no one wants to talk about it.
Mom and Dad will sit here with me...I talk to them often!  I cry for them often!  I've changed!  I'll never be the same!  Some days my change is shocking and somedays I realize that life is a shapes you!  Without it....without real life, we are left to perception.  That can be scary...Perception isn't's what you make it.  Right now perception is experience and that's not mine to make!!  But I will ride...I'll take it!  I'll trust that GOD is leading me somewhere!  With my one piece!!!