I have been away from this page for some months as I broke the promise to myself to be as transparent as I could. So, out of my private journal I'll paste my thoughts during the last six months.
I call the first entry "The Battle for Me."-Late July 2012
Lately I have been feeling “some kind of way”. I can’t explain it really. It’s a
combination of a burning desire to move forward and a fear of the challenges I
know are ahead. I feel a force holding me in one spot. Is it grief, that
heaviness on the heart? Is it anger over my my husband's illness and death that has so
radically changed me? Is it fear of the work I know is ahead dealing with all
the growth and development my son is experiencing and the challenges of dealing
with my daughter’s needs with anxiety, ADHD and Dyslexia? Is it loneliness? I’ve
been on my own now for nearly 2.5 years and was a caretaker for nearly half my
10 year marriage. I’ve very little memory of a normal marriage with Thomas, very
little memory of passion, of real give and take love and team work.
guess it is all of those things. I’m trying to make some significant positive
life changes along with dealing with all of those things. I’m again trying to
wrestle us out of the grips of the drive-thru habit, mainly for the health and
financial benefits. It hasn’t been easy. My children are used to instant
gratification upon arriving home in the evenings. I have to give my son an
“appetizer” until I get dinner on the table, but we had a good week, only
getting take-out once in 7 days.
I want back the belief I had in myself
that was ripped away by those years. I want to truly believe it when I say to
myself he lived longer than he would have without me because he undoubtedly did.
The best doctors couldn’t save him so why do I feel I failed him? He could have
done a lot of things differently, but he’s not experiencing feelings of failure
so why should I? But with years of that life, I began to see myself as less than I am. Then
he died while I wasn’t exactly in super caregiver mode. I had been deceived into
believing after a variety of experiences that anything less than heroic was
failure. That was wrong. I'm not a robot. I’m a woman with normal feelings,
normal needs, normal desires, normal dreams and those were/are just as important
as anyone else’s and they can't be turned on and off for convenience.
don’t know when I gave my power away. Was it when I fell in love with him? Was
it when we got married? Was it as he got sicker over time? I can’t be sure. All
I know is that I want it back. He’s been dead for nearly 2.5 years. I’ve had a
lot thrown at me in that time that hasn’t exactly done much to rebuild what was
torn apart. But I want to believe the mere fact that I have survived to this
point says a lot about me. I will always miss him. I gave him all I had while he
was here. I likely gave him too much considering he couldn’t or wouldn’t
depending on the day give me anything in return. Then he died anyway.
So I’ve been repeating to myself:
You are the one that determines your worth. Despite every force’s attempt to
beat you to a mental pulp, you are upright, making every effort to give yourself
and your children a good life. The latest opponent: I call him the “what if”
monster. A lot of us are probably familiar with it. He’s appeared periodically
over the years and I’m tired of it. I really need to grind that monster and into
dust and his friend shame too.
All that rambling to sayif you're familiar with this struggle with the "what if monster", you certainly aren't alone. Whatever your
ups and downs have been, whatever your spouse said or didn't say. Whatever they
did or didn't do, no matter where you feel you have come up short, those things
don't determine who you are.
There will likely never come a time when I
have it all together all of the time. I used to have the power to know that
didn't make me less of a woman. Years of caregiving that yielded few results
other than surviving the crisis followed by death and a whole lot of other crap,
ripped away at that.
I'm working on grinding those monsters into the dust
they tried to grind me into.