That's my intent for 2012.
I'm notorious for putting lots of pressure on myself and trying to do things on my own. It was drilled into me even deeper during the years of caregiving prior to Thomas' death.
But as life speeds up, and I'm still slowed by grief, I'm learning to lean on God again. Okay, overall, things are looking up for us. I’m making emotional progress and there is a lot of emotional progress to make. I’m just so tired. I know it is common and normal with grief and I know my life doesn’t leave much room for rest, but I’m just really drained. It is taking a lot of emotional work to rebuild my life. It’s a job to process all of the feelings not just from Thomas’ death, but from his life and illness. A lot of prayer which sometimes consists of just rambling on and on about what happened to the only one who can’t get away from me. That’s God’s reward for being omnipresent. Thankfully He can take it. And when I look around, there’s work, the house needs attention, Ariana needs attention, and Elijah needs attention.
Work: After working as a contractor/temporary employee for 3 years, HR told management of my department they could no longer keep extending contracts and the long-term contractors either had to be hired on as permanent employees or let go. Well, despite me not wanting the only position they were hiring permanent employees for (because it would mean I could not be there for my children the way I need to be now) they wanted me to stay so they put in a requisition for my current position and it was approved so no more contracting, which means benefits now like company paid life insurance, 401K, long-term and short-term disability, paid sick and personal leave, all things I have been without for a long time. The last 3 years were actually the last 3 of 7 total years that have passed since I had a permanent job.
So now I’m going over things, especially our financial plan, making some changes and revamping our short-term and long-term goals. We’ll stick with the health insurance Thomas left us, but I’ll be getting us dental and vision through my job because frankly while it is good on medical benefits, the dental and vision portion stinks. I’m looking at routines and things at home because this commute that tends to wear me down at times…well now I really need to make it work. And I have been doing better since the permanent position came through. My career was basically at a standstill between being a contractor and the job that I didn’t want to take being the next level up, but when the director talked to me, she put me on a three year timeline to move up and I can live with that. I figure by the time Elijah is in school (which is how she phrased it) I’ll either be ready to move up or move on.
The house had an exterior makeover that I’m really happy with and it looks great when we come home in the afternoons. The interior still needs work, but I was too spent emotionally to continue after the exterior work was done.
And here I am…after nearly two years without Thomas. As reality set in that he was not going to come back, reality set in that I’m a survivor. But I had no choice. Life never slowed down for me and it isn’t slowing down now. I’ve heard the term mourning on the run and our lives could definitely qualify for that. Six days after the funeral it was back to work and unless I was taking Elijah to one of many check-ups he had that first year (one of which was two days after Thomas died) I worked every day except the 12 days total we were on vacation or someone was sick. I bust my behind at home and at work just like any other parent. At times I've found it hard to breathe. I'm convinced that during those times, my heart would have broken beyond repair had it not been for my faith in His mercy.
I started the book "Believe" by Jennifer Silvera. Her pain comes right off the pages. Those moments of looking up into the dark and wondering if anyone is there...if God is there...it's real. Moments during Thomas' illness and times since his death, I've known that type of desparation.
What I'm learning in my time conversing with God, mainly crying out in my angst is patience. I've said a few times on this journey I have learned over this time to respect the load I am carrying. And part of learning that lesson is remembering my faith. It's remembering that beating myself up when the world starts to move too fast for me isn't productive. I've learned a lot of lessons about faith and grace, lessons I'm trying to pass to my children.
It's rarely easy. Today as I started my flight down the highway, my daily game of beat the clock as I drive as fast as I legally can to get to the school before aftercare, I looked up and admitted I was exhausted, my head was spinning with details, and even though I'm full of anticipation, physically I felt like crashing. I can trust God to understand I'm still grateful for all He's done, for the fact that I have a job and beautiful babies. But to do the job and raise the babies I need His help.
So when I ran to Him today I wanted to slow things down. Traffic wasn't bad on the way home and Ariana had already completed over half of her homework. Ahhh...thank You! Watching sports on TV, trying to wind down from the homework session with Ariana, I also watched the children play and tried to literally absorb the sound of their laughter. Eventually, Elijah brought his Thomas the Tank Engine toys from his room into mine. I played trains with my son. It's amazing how something so simple can have a huge effect on the day. He looks at me saying "choo choo" and I repeat "choo choo". He says, "All aboard!" My heart smiled and the spinning slowed.