Saturday - I went into meltdown. This new life is too hard.
Sunday - I stamped my feet again and declared, “I can’t do this anymore!”
Things don’t seem to be getting any easier. The boys NEED me to be their mum and I NEED someone to share all this overwhelming responsibility with. It really is too much for one person.
Sometimes it seems like I am sitting in a crumbling house with my whole life disintegrating around me. OK it’s not entirely true but on the home front there are things Andrew and I would have done – together – home improvements and D.I.Y. Now I have no energy and if I am selling anyway my priorities may not match up to those of a potential buyer. I don’t want to spend money unnecessarily.
We’ve just got back from two weeks away. Two weeks surrounded by other people.
The first week was spent camping with our church family. We were at a big Christian conference called New Wine. Yes the wine was flowing and I was whining there too! But I got to escape and do things for me, the boys were looked after and even when they weren’t with an organised group there were plenty of people on hand to keep an eye on them. They were in a safe environment.
Our second week away was spent with my parents, so once again they boys were well cared for when I managed to have time out.
Now it’s back home to reality and I don’t like it much. It’s like having a lovely lie in on a frosty winters morning wrapped up in a soft warm duvet only to have the covers whipped away and be left exposed and cold. I’ve lost my security blanket that had been keeping me snug and cocooned.
However there are some things I’ve learned over the past fortnight and probably the most important thing is that I am not on my own.
There were seminars at New Wine and one of the most helpful ones was about bereavement. It was led by a couple who had lost their son, a different kind of loss to mine and yet the emotions are universal. Their words were so soothing and positive.
From the seminar I picked up a leaflet about “A Different Journey” part of “Care for the Family” which helps people like me. On the website it spoke about grief being in seasons. A season of survival, one of pain and heartache followed by a time of adjustment and then rebuilding. Some elements are more difficult to adjust to than others but I am at the stage of trying to adapt to my change in circumstances and rebuild something new.
Also on their website I found other blogs written by Christians who had lost their husband or wife. They are further along the journey than me but I dipped in and out of their stories so far. So many things resonated with me. Themes I had written about were there, just in different words and phrases. There really are people who understand because they have been in my shoes.
One thing that struck me was a comment about some research showing that the pain of bereavement is similar to suffering a brain trauma! Now I understand why my brain feels like it’s full of cotton wool.
For example yesterday I went food shopping. I packed and paid for my goods and then looked behind at next person’s shopping still on the conveyor belt. How strange, I thought, they have the same two pizzas as me and a copy of the Radio Times, just like I have. It was only as I got home I realised it was the end of my own shopping basket! The man (or boy!) on the checkout hadn’t scanned everything through. My brain is so fuzzy I couldn’t make all the connections needed to ask him to continue. At least I didn’t pay for it all but please nobody tell the boys I forgot the pizzas!
The best thing of all I have discovered, re-discovered or realised (remember my brain is no longer functioning properly!) is I am NORMAL and other people have survived before me.
It doesn’t always make things any easier when all you want to do is scream.
When I stamped my feet yesterday and said I couldn’t carry on a friend told me I must. The sad fact is she is right. It’s a sign of a good friend when they
can tell you the painful truth even when you don’t want to hear it.
There was something else I was reminded of when we were away and that’s about the special relationship between fathers and daughters. I was privileged to watch two of the young girls we were camping with climb up onto their fathers' lap for a cuddle. I watched as they moved in and negotiated a comfortable position, safe in dad’s arms. Their fathers were compliant, each welcoming their little girl.
There was another father and daughter at one of the evening meetings and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. She was a very little child almost doing acrobatics with her dad, walking up his body and being flipped over when she reached his chest. There was even a moment when she was standing aloft on his shoulders. They were perfectly balanced, not holding on at all, she totally trusted her loving father below. When she was back on the ground he was teaching her tricks, she was jumping and balancing and trying to copy his moves. It was truly beautiful to watch.
There was even one night at my parents when I went to sit briefly on my dad’s knee before I went to bed. Even 43 year olds need a cuddle from their dad sometimes, if they are lucky enough to still have him around.
It reminded me of how my relationship with my Heavenly Father should be. We should never be afraid to come and curl up on his lap and snuggle close. He will always make room for us and never be too busy.
I am NOT alone in this journey. I have friends and family to hold my hand. There are many others who’ve walked this path before and are willing to share their experiences. And I have a human dad on earth and a Kingly one in heaven who will eagerly let me sit on their knee and will never let me go.
Sometimes this new life is all too much to bear. I just need to remember who to trust in and lean on.
When the going gets tough, the tough run to a safe place where they will find rest. We curl up and want to be a child again.
Monday – I had a good day. A time with friends and an evening laughing and playing with the boys. And now I am going to make my way to a royal throne and curl up on my Heavenly dad’s knee, I know he will still be up this late, ready and waiting…
Tomorrow - who know's what will happen, but somehow I have to carry on however tough it gets...