Monday, December 27, 2010

You'd Think I Was Happy, Right?

It was just Christmas. I have two beautiful babies who make every day worth waking up. I have a few great friends, and a good husband.

So why is it I'm so damn sad all the time?

It's been nearly six years, so why at Christmas do I still think, "it isn't fair that my mom isn't here?"

I don't quite understand how my heart can still be broken six years later. I don't understand why my mind isn't able to let go of the fact that she is not coming back, and that nothing I can say/do/think will bring her back to me. I barely even spend time with her best friends anymore. I recently did a craft fair at my old gradeschool to support this event her friends hosted. And I had a full-fledged panic attack being in the place she used to work and love. In the past year, I've even stopped talking about her to people, hoping that maybe if I don't talk about her, all of these angry feelings will go away and I'll just move on with life.

Let me tell you a secret: Giant fail. Hasn't worked.

When she was sick, I spent 13 months taking care of her. I spent those months smiling when all I wanted to do was sob; taking care of her in all the ways that were the reasons I'd never wanted to become a nurse when I was younger. I faked the smiles so she would smile. Sometimes it was because I didn't want to upset her, sometimes it was simply for the fact that she was confused and just smiling would calm her down. I pretended the whole world was great, told her over and over that we were going to beat this. And we didn't. And when she died, I couldn't even cry. I'd become so good at not crying, so good at not feeling anything at all because the pain was too much, knowing she was going to die, that I could turn it all off at the drop of a hat.

And now I can't turn it off. I have this sadness that doesn't ever go away. I lost so many friends in that year. Friends didn't know how to act around me. Friends got mad at me because I didn't act sad all the time (when they didn't know that actually, my heart was breaking every moment of every day). One friend actually told me that she just couldn't make time for me anymore, because if I knew my mom was going to die, there was no point in spending every moment with her. I should just be out continuing my life.

So my circle of friends shrunk. Dramatically. I still don't have an easy time trusting people. There are very few people I actually tell many things to, for the simple reason that every once in awhile, I find I lose one of them too and then I go through everything all over again, wondering what is wrong with me that I cannot even keep a friend. I feel awkward in every situation. I can't stand to think that someone doesn't like me, because it means I'm not doing something right.

Between this and the recent falling out with members of my family who I don't trust, I feel a bit lost and confused. And the ironical routine continues, of me getting up every morning, brushing my teeth, and while I'm doing that I look in the mirror and force myself to smile, and the smile stays like a mask for the rest of the day.

I don't know how to get back to the place where I was before she got sick. Back when the world made sense and I still had my best friend. I feel like I'm cheating my kids out of having the best mom they can have, and that breaks my heart. And I'm not the best wife someone can have, either. I just want to feel whole again, to be able to move on like all the normal people in the world.

It's hard to imagine the old me. I used to make friends so easily. I used to go out, and have fun. I used to BE fun. I'm not even a shell of that person anymore. I'm going through the motions, thankful for what I have but always searching for something that is going to make me feel like I'm normal again.

I don't know the reason for this post, other than venting. I haven't been doing anything really creative, and I haven't even really been reading blogs, because I just haven't felt motivated to do any of it. I talked with a good friend today, and hopefully some of her perspective will somehow make sense to me in the morning. I hope so - I want to make the most of life, not just make it through it.


  1. Hi Friend, I'll call you that because I can't find your profile and want to say your name. You have such a sweet smile..and from older posts..a vibrant spirit..

    My heart aches to read what you have written. In so many ways I understand EXACTLY what you are talking about..but maybe not in the exact same formula. We are all different after all. :o)

    I think you have visited my blog before, Comin' Home, and I know you are on my blog roll. I remember loving your blog name, More than "Just Mom'. I can see you love to sew and refashion..a girl after my own heart! I ADORE sewing and fixing things up.

    Sadly, most of my first year as a blogger has been swallowed up, not in sewing, but in handling my father's estate. The third month of blogging I spent sending out sporadic posts while taking care of Dad as he lay dying of his hovel of a home..

    continued on another comment

  2. It was dark and old 50's style home. It was SOooo terribly lonely. Everyone else was celebrating Christmas..everyone at church. It seemed that the whole world had forgotten me. And when I did get home after spending an entire month away from my husband and children, I was just emotionally and physically exhausted and no one seemed to understand that anything had happened.

    My dad abused me as a child, so those nasty chores you refer to that would make anyone run rather than be a nurse, the tasks I swore as a 16 yr.old I would NEVER do... for him...I did and I did it with a smile...though I stood in the hospital hall weeping with shame as my Dad yelled from his bed for me to get in there and 'help' him. The humilation and embarrassment..there just aren't words to describe it. Funny thing, once I did it the first time, I realized that he was no longer the dangerous father he once was, just a tired old man who didn't want to lose what little dignity was left. I truly felt compassion for him.

    And I cared for my Granny who had alzheimer's for a whole year, while raising four little ones. I thought I would surely lose my mind. I did lose a lot of friends. No one could even conceive of what I was going through. I begged dear hubby not to leave me alone again..with her. The stress was intense. I knew I was doing the right thing..but normal..was gone. I had to let go of control of anything that seemed normal. I cried every day..buckets and buckets. It seemed as if even God had abandoned me. If he still even existed.

    And then two years later, hubby got cancer when our fifth child was 3 months old. The cure rate was 95% but it was as if the world had fallen apart. I kept wishing it had happened to someone else..or just wasn't true. I was so so scared. Again..wishing we could go back, especially during Christmas, to 'normal'. It's as if 'normal' had been stolen from me. I was so angry at God for that. Why Tim? Why me?

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  4. I only share these things to let you know, that although I can't take the sadness away or truly even explain it, or the anger...I do know that most likely you are just struggling with depression. At one point, it got so bad for me that I couldn't take a deep breath..just shallow ones... They wanted me to take anti-depressants..but I sooo didn't want to. One month after the breathing problems started (all stress related as it turned out), in despair, I just begged God to tell me what was wrong with me. I'm an extremely tearful to go a whole month without tears..or relief was totally crazy.

    The craziest thought popped in my head and at first it made me so angry I thought how ridiculous! I felt as if God was telling me to 'Thank Him' for the terrible things that were happening in my life. The betrayal by a pastor's wife, the fact that I couldn't breathe, my oldest son rebelling, and hubby and him in constant conflict, my hair falling out in handfuls...and on and on. I just thought that was the dumbest idea in the world to Thank God for bad things. But the idea was persist ant and wouldn't go away. But the bible says to do it, so I started praying and thanking God for all these bad things, the whole time feeling not one speck of thankfulness..only grief and anger.

    As I started to do this, I realized how angry I had been at God, how I wanted to refuse to accept that these things had happened and were in fact happening. Somehow, if I refused to acknowledge that bad things as part of what was supposed to happen, then I could keep them from happening or keep them at a distance. By thanking God for those things, I found myself accepting them into my life as part of my new 'normal'. I was in a sense, forgiving God for 'doing this to me'..and not giving him a deadline for fixing them. I started weeping..for the first time in 30 days..and in about a week...I could breathe again. I don't even now know what all was involved but I think I was fighting the whole mess... and I needed to accept the reality of it. It wasn't going to just disappear.

    But I wasn't a bad person or failure just because I felt like I was losing my mind..and neither are you! You are just suffering with grief, plain and simple... It takes a lot of time to get through the loss of someone you love.

  5. My best friend Mary took five years to quit crying over her husband who collapsed on the lawn at age 39. No all. He just died. She had five small children. They were high school sweethearts. Very few people accepted the fact that it took five years and then one day..suddenly..she was OK. To this day she doesn't know why. Her friends told her to get her act together basically..but not my hubby and I. We just loved her and cried with her..and prayed for her. And I will do the same for you. I accept you as you are..weeping and all...anger and all. It's all so very normal.

    If a doctor can help you or prescribe something, by all means, take advantage of that, if you want to. But know that you aren't weird or bad because of what you are suffering. I'm so sorry your mom is gone..and I can't imagine losing mine. You will be in my prayers.

    A bloggy friend,
    Donna :o)

    PS. I would have emailed this but can't find an email. I know I'm a complete stranger, but if my crazy story can help, then I'd be so glad. I don't know what is the heart of your struggle..I'm only sharing mine in the hopes that some part might open a crack of light into your grief and how to deal with it. :o) We are all on this journey of life together...

  6. One more thing..I promise..NORMAL will return. One day, this will all be just a page from your story of life. You will know it happened, but you won't hurt any more. It just takes time and if your grief is for someone you are VERY close to, it may take more time than you wish it would. I pray it will come sooner rather than later for you.


  7. I don't have any advice to you except to tell you that you are not alone. I lost my brother to Leukemia on December 9th of this year, only four days before his sons 3rd birthday. One look at that little boy just about sends me to my knees in tears. I thought that after the funeral was over, I would feel closure and ready to move on and I was so wrong. I don't know that the heartache really ever goes away. All I know to do is to pray that God will ease some of the pain and at least make it bareable... even if I don't understand the reasoning.

  8. May I suggest a book? "The Grief Recovery Handbook" by John W. James & Russell Friedman.



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