Saturday, September 17, 2011

Breaking Open At One and a Half Years

Yeah, I'm usually never late, but this walk I have found is one where there is no set pace.

So I haven't posted in quite some time. I have these times where I close in on myself and have thoughts and emotions I don't want to share. But that wasn't the original purpose of this blog. It was to be an open honest account of the ups and downs of my journey after my husband's death. I wouldn't have anyone reading not know it's a huge challenge. There's joy in my life and pain. That's the honest truth.

I had to come to terms that I'm still really angry about what happened, about everything, the disease, the effects of the disease on Thomas and therefore our marriage, how I don't see myself the same anymore, how some of the encounters with him during those times, especially when he was heavily medicated really lowered my self-esteem, how I'm still a product of some of the negative things I went through.

I couldn't even cry...not more than shedding a few tears here and there. I could sit and get behind on laundry, let the house become disorganized, lose focus, but I couldn't let the emotion out even when I felt it coming. I told myself I had to be strong, that I couldn't let the children see me break down. I'm all they have left, I should keep it together. I could hear my my husband telling me how it wouldn't do any good to cry, how I shouldn't be that weak (yeah, I know).

After a while I got a bit fed up...angry really. As many times as I'd told people who asked about it that God can handle your anger and as many times as I'd told myself the same thing, and even heard it in my head when I would pray, I could not seem to make the step to say, "Yeah, I'm mad...I'm really mad. I'm mad at Thomas, I'm mad at me and yeah, I'm mad at You too cuz I know you love us and didn't cause what happened, but I also can't understand why I can't catch a break."

I mean my husband is dead. My children have NO father. But one thing I learned while Thomas was alive was that having a huge life weight doesn't mean you're immune from the challenges of life other people face. Thomas and I had his illness plus all of the normal issues married couples face and his illness left us without the tools a lot of couples use to deal with those issues. We did what we could. The fact that we're on a grief journey and my children have no father doesn't keep parenting challenges away. It doesn't keep house challenges away and it invites money issues...rolls the red carpet out for them it seems. I felt stuck, but the very real need to acknowledge what I had and have that is good usually would over-ride my urge to say..."CRAP!"

Then came a turning point for me. In church the message was about dealing with stuff that holds us back and how the first step was to admit it. At the end I went up for prayer. They pair you with someone hopefully in your category to pray with you. I could already feel the tears coming. I looked up and it was a friend, another single mom, 12 years my junior but one for which I have a lot of respect. She had her girls young but has made a good life for them. One is in Ariana's class at school, the other is a year behind them. She works her behind off, has her own home, goes to school, you get the idea.

She leaned in and asked, "Is there anything specific you want to pray about?" I started to lose it, but managed to say, "I'm really angry about what happened to my husband and my marriage." As she began to pray I began to sob. I realized my mood in the weeks leading up to this were the result of me putting God out to arm's length again. At a certain point a few months ago I had come to the conclusion that despite what had happened, the children and I could have a bright future. Now, I still believe that, but it appeared that as soon as I came to that conclusion some force decided to see what else could be thrown at me since I had the nerve to still believe I could have a life after my husband died...nice right?

When she finished praying, I only meant to give her a hug, but I was so far gone by then it turned into that gut wrenching, hardly able to catch your breath sobbing, I'd probably been needing to get out for nearly a year and a half. I felt so bad for her. By the end, she was crying almost as hard as I was. I realized my failure to reach out sufficiently. Finally finding that shoulder or rather letting it find me and "losing it" didn't make anything blow up.

Go figure.

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