Hitting a wall

I feel broken tonight.  Like the stresses of life have beaten me.  And I’m not sure if I should try to fight back or just curl up in a ball and wait for the beating to end.  I’m angry enough to want to lash out, but I don’t have anyone or anything to yell at or hit. Well, except the wall in the hallway that I hit (literally) earlier.

I’ve been under a lot of stress at work lately.  Too much to do and not enough hours in the day.  I actually worked about 30 hours last weekend, so today feels more like Friday than Wednesday.  It’s disheartening to think that I have to go in tomorrow.  There’s also been a flood of students into my office with questions, which is normal for this time of year.  I like seeing them but a couple of today’s visitors were memorable.  One was angry, the other in tears.  It’s hard for me to deal with their emotions at both extremes.

I’ve also recently started seeing someone again.  I thought things were going well.  We were enjoying getting to know each other.  It was nice to get out and be social, and to be reminded that I don’t have to be alone.  I’m not quite sure what happened, but his interest has waned.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I fuss and worry about being liked so the cooling of his attentions is very disturbing to me.  I understand if he’s just not interested (I can be a little much for some people – ha) but if I did/said something I’d like to know what it was so I don’t repeat the same mistake again.  We’re still sort of talking but I’m not quite sure where I stand.  And that uncertainty drives me crazy!

I’m also trying to renew my faith.  Renew may not be quite the right word though.  I’ve been angry with God for awhile now – I guess you could say I was giving him the ‘silent treatment’ – and I’m realizing that anger isn’t doing anything but making me miserable.  Slowly but surely I’m trying to improve myself and repair my faith, not just in God but in myself as well.

All of this combined with some concerns about family and friends, the change in seasons (fall to winter is particularly hard for me), and the upcoming holidays has finally become too much to handle.  I was muttering under my breath all the way to my car after work today, ranted on the drive home, and have actually cried a couple of times tonight.  Not that silent cry where tears slowly trickle down, but the ugly, puffy-eyed, snot-filled, uncontrollable sobs cry.  The first round of tears came at the end of my drive home, which probably wasn’t the best idea but I couldn’t stop it.  The second round came as I did something I haven’t done in over a year – slid my wedding rings back onto my finger.  They’ve been there for over an hour and I’m amazed how quickly that weight on my finger became familiar again.  I know I can’t wear them all of the time (too weird) but I’m surprised at how much comfort they bring me on a bad day.

Well, enough whining for one night.  I’ve written a book (thanks for staying with me, if you’ve lasted this long) and my hand hurts. Just needed to get all of that off of my chest.

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Unique and Devestating Loss

I have tried (and I think failed) to describe the feelings of loss that surrounded me after Chad’s death.  I have found a much better explanation so I am borrowing it to post here. This from a message board that I frequent.  It does a wonderful job of explaining the depth of loss a widow/ers go through and the challenges they face.  The original post can be found here.

Unique and Devastating Loss (by WifeLess)

With the death of our spouse (which here includes fiancée, significant other,
partner, etc.), we grieve the loss of so much more than someone we merely
loved or were close to, like a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or pet. We
grieve instead the loss of: The one we loved most deeply, cherished and felt
the very closest to. The one we swore commitment to in that unique human
bond of marriage, which many consider sacred. The one we shared the
ultimate partnership with to live as one and perhaps bear children with. The
one who embodied our true sense of home. The one who was our best friend
and who was to be our companion for life. The one we confided in, depended
on and trusted most. The one who really knew, understood and accepted us
as we were. The one we felt safe and protected with. The one we shared
private moments and intimate feelings with. The one we mated souls with.

But it is not just that this most precious person has been torn from our life,
as unbearably heartbreaking as that alone is. With the death of our spouse,
and only of our spouse, many additional profound losses must be grieved as
well. For we also suffer: The loss of who we ourselves were while with them.
The loss of the couple we were once half of. The loss of the life partnership
we once formed. The loss of the husband or wife role we once embraced.
The loss of the life we once lived. The loss of the plans we once made. The
loss of the dreams we once shared. The loss of the future we once envisioned.

Amidst all this, we are also suddenly confronted with many hardships we
never expected to face at this point in our life. Besides financial survival,
increased domestic burdens and perhaps single parenting, additional
challenges less apparent to others but all too real and terrifying to us. We
must now find it within ourselves: To create a new identity. To redefine
our role in life. To establish a new connection to the world. To build a new
network of social relationships. To discover a new sense of purpose. To
formulate a new set of goals. To decide on a new direction for our future.

And we must accomplish these without dishonoring our former life, but while
suppressing bittersweet memories of that life, so that they not hold us back.
Memories of happier times mostly, but also those of our spouse’s death,
either sudden and shocking or after prolonged illness. We must further
endure the feelings of guilt and disloyalty that follow us as we attempt to
forget and move forward, but with our heartstrings tied so tightly to the past.

And all these tasks must be taken on at the lowest possible point of our life in
the worst state imaginable. When we are the weakest, most vulnerable, most
insecure, most isolated, most heartbroken and most emotionally exhausted
we have ever been. Without that one person we long ago became accustomed
to relying on to help get us through life’s greatest challenges. The one who,
just by being there, would have provided us emotional comfort and moral
support to draw upon, as well as the strength and confidence we need to
complete those tasks and so much more. But now we face all this alone.

Profound indeed is the death of our spouse. Unique and devastating. For
nearly all of us, much more catastrophic to our life than the loss of any other.
And truly comparable, many of us widows and widowers often feel, to one
other death only. Ours.

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Tired of the struggle

It’s been a rough few weeks.  I can’t really pin it on one specific cause, just a lot of contributing factors.  I’m not quite sure how to shake the dark cloud I feel like I’ve been living under.  I get an occasional good day but it seems like I have more bad days than good.  I thought I was past all of this – guess I was wrong. 

I hate feeling like this.  I’m the type of person who sees a problem and wants to find a solution.  I don’t like not having the answers.  It frustrates me to no end.  Maybe talking to someone would help – the question is “Who?”  I don’t like burdening anyone with my problems, so I just bottle it all up.  Eventually I’ll reach my limit and ‘blow my cork’; the question becomes when, where, and who will get caught up in it?  So many people think it’s been long enough that I’m ‘over it.’   Oh, if only that were true!

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Tough days

My good friend “A” had a baby yesterday.  This is a wanted, loved child – the product of a happy marriage.  I am so happy for them.  The baby is beautiful and healthy. But my joy for her is tainted with jealousy and sadness. I want what she has.

What people don’t realize is how much it sucks to do things alone, to not have family to fall back on and to not really have anything that passes for a purpose in our lives. We have no one who depends upon us, and we really can’t depend upon anyone – especially as we age and our parents or siblings, if we have any siblings, pass away. I realize how much is out there that I can’t do. Most things are either family activities or scandalous things that happy unwidowed college students do. The only middle ground is for couples. I’m really out of ideas and on the days when I feel like exiting the house, I just feel so isolated and alone. There is no group of buddies that were always there to do something with for the sake of doing something, like there was in high school. I’m just at a time of life when things should be set, everything should be working smoothly in its nice routine, clicking into place as part of “the plan.”  Instead it all crumbled to shit and I’m just spinning around in the darkness reaching out, but nothing is there.
I’m not even asking for answers, I know I can take a class, volunteer, fake it at work. But even when I do those things I still feel alone, like a part is missing, like I’m watching it all from behind some foggy glass. And it hurts – a lot.

This whole post just sounds like a pity party.  Not intentional, but I needed to get that rant out.

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A hole in the ground

Please forgive the disjointed combination of thoughts below.  I began writing this post about 9 months ago but I was never sure how to finish it.  So it sat in my drafts folder while I wrote about other things and while I wrote nothing at all.  Occasionally I would add to it intending to finish, but never able to find the words I wanted.  I’ve decided that now is the time, whether I find the right words or not. 

I think I mentioned that I sold the house that Chad & I shared.  If not, well, I did.  I didn’t see the point in keeping it when I moved.  I didn’t want to be a landlord and have to deal with all of the hassles of a renter while being over 200 miles away.  And houses tend to deteriorate quickly when they’re not occupied.

I had been approached in the fall of 2010 by a gentleman who was interested in buying the property.  At the time I wasn’t planning to go anywhere.  When I told him this, he asked that I keep him in mind if that ever changed.  I agreed, and then proceeded to forget about it altogether.  A couple of months later I had just accepted a new job and was trying to figure out everything that had to be done in about 4 weeks.  The list was pretty short: resign old job, find new house, buy new house, pack, move, start new job.  Oh yeah, and sell old house.

I had mixed feelings about selling the house – our house.  I was attached to it because of all of the memories contained in those walls.  All of the laughter and tears, good times and bad.  A lifetime in too few years.  But that was part of the reason I needed to get away too.  The weight of those memories was slowly suffocating me.  And realistically I knew I couldn’t handle two houses.  So I contacted a friend of Chad’s (who had recently started selling real estate) to list the house.  He was great to work with.  Since I had never bought or sold a house before I had no idea what I was doing and he spent as much time as I needed going over things and was always available to answer all of my questions.   A day or two after I listed the house the gentleman who had approached me called and wanted to know if I was really selling my house.  I replied that I was and he asked about doing a private sale without including my realtor.  He wasn’t pleased with my negative response, but agreed to handle it the way I wanted.  Editor’s note:  I was trying to protect both parties involved by including a realtor.  This way everything was handled properly – all of the i’s dotted and t’s crossed.  If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way.

A couple of months passed in a flurry of activity.  A new house was purchased.  Everything in my old house was gone through and packed, thrown away, given away or sold.  My family made trips on consecutive weekends to load up and move my stuff from one house to the other.  Many boxes were unpacked as I settled into my new house and started my new job.  And lots of emails and phone calls were exchanged with my realtor as I rejected, countered offers, and sold my old house.  I drove back north to sign the last of the closing papers and pick up the last couple of boxes that wouldn’t fit in my car on previous trips.  It was done – I was the owner of just one house again.  Six weeks later I was standing in Menards when my cell phone signaled an incoming picture message.  I opened it to see a photo of  a pile of boards and dirt where my old house used to stand and the words, “Thought you might like to know,” from my former neighbor and brother-in-law.

The new owner had torn the house down to make room for a new one.  I knew that was his plan all along – he told me as much when he first approached me about buying it.  But seeing that hole in the ground reminded me of another, smaller hole that I had looked into just 18 months before.  That hole had marked the end of a life.  This one seemed to signify the beginning of another.  But it still made me sad to see that photo.  It made real the fact that I had chosen to relocate myself away from all of those friends and family, favorite locations, and memories.  It was sad, but it was a relief too.  I could finally leave the “widow” label behind and focus on just being me again.  Being a widow is part of who I am but it’s not the only thing I am.

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Monday evening

I realized something tonight sitting in the semi-darkness of my living room, the only light coming from the soft glow of the television that I have on for noise. I’m not happy. I don’t know if it’s my job, my house, my town, or something else in my life. All I know is I am not happy with my life. I realize that my happiness is my responsibility. And I do want to be happy, but until I figure out what makes me unhappy, I can’t fix it.

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Fear

I think know that I’m afraid.  Not afraid of the ghosts, goblins, and other assorted scary stuff that appears this time of year, but afraid of my own feelings.  I don’t like being afraid.  It holds me back from things that I really want in life.

Things with S are great.  We’re settling into our relationship and continuing to learn more about each other.  We still talk most nights, usually for at least an hour, and never run out of things to talk about.  We have discovered that we can have a good time together even when we do nothing.  We enjoy cooking meals together.  We successfully navigated grocery shopping together – and managed to not maim or kill each other or any other shoppers.  🙂  Last weekend I even got some work done while I was visiting for the weekend (gasp!).  Like I said before, things are great. 

But.  Every once in awhile, something will be done/implied/said that freaks me out.  Something completely innocent like the use of a term of endearment will startle me.  Any mention of celebrating a holiday or birthday that’s more than a couple of weeks away causes my palms to sweat.  My heart races at the thought of meeting each other’s families.    Why, you ask?  After a couple of sleepless nights I think I have the answer.

I believe that I’m afraid of getting hurt.  The last time I got seriously involved with a man I married him.  Then he died, shattering my life into a million tiny little pieces.  Now I’m not saying that things are that serious with S – we’re firmly in the “like” stage – but occasionally there are small reminders that we are getting deeper into our relationship.  Like pet names, holidays, and talk of meeting family members.  While more serious is a good thing, it’s (also) very scary because the more serious we get, the more it will hurt if our relationship ends.  And I’ve had enough emotional pain to last the rest of my life, thankyouverymuch.

I feel like I’m cheating both of us out of what our relationship really could be because I’m holding a part of me back.  I just wish I knew what to do to fix it.

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